‘Warm bank’ at Turner Contemporary features children’s library and Ramsgate students’ Fantastical Worlds exhibition

Fantastical art, books and comfort at Turner Contemporary's warm bank and children's library room

A children’s art library featuring an exhibition by Royal Harbour Academy students has been created in a registered warm bank at Turner Contemporary.

The Margate art gallery has registered the warm bank on national databases as part of the effort to help those struggling with the cost of living crisis.

Based in the gallery’s Clore Learning Studio, people are invited to visit, read the books, use the wifi, get creative and stay warm.

Photo Tim Topple

The studio has been transformed from a white canvas to a vibrant space with comfy chairs, tables, some 400 children’s art books and the colourful Fantastical Worlds display by two groups of Year 8 students working with Project Motorhouse, photographer Tim Topple and artist Christopher Tipping.

Turner Contemporary’s head of visitor experience, Toby Parkin, and learning producer Dee Ajiba (both pictured above) have overseen the warm bank/art library and exhibition installation.

Toby said: “The idea is for people to come and stay as long as they like. We are going to have early years sessions after the half term and then we will be looking at after-school clubs and sessions for older people.

“With the cost of living crisis we  have registered as a warm bank on the national database and we want to be a living room space for Margate. People can hang out here and cut their bills, use the internet and the café, members of staff will be here and there are the children’s books, many of them that will be interesting for adults as well.”

The warm bank is a pilot project running from its opening tomorrow (October 22) until January 8.

Photo Tim Topple

While using the room people can also view the Fantastical Worlds exhibition by 21 Royal Harbour/Project Motorhouse students.

In May, the students took part in a series of imaginative and collaborative workshops with photographer Tim Topple and artist Christopher Tipping alongside Jo Mapp and Janet Fielding from Project Motorhouse.

The groups experimented with surreal photography, performance, and collage to create their works.

One of the RHA groups during the project with photographer Tim Topple

Dee said: “The students took part in creative, experimental workshops inspired by Alice in Wonderland, surrealism and pop-up books.

“The art books in our children’s library include beautifully illustrated early years books and story narrative ones all the way up to more educational art history for older children. There are also how to books so people can have a go for themselves.

“We want the studio to feel really comfortable so people can use the space for downtime and also take the chance to see the exhibitions.”

Second RHA group Photo Tim Topple

The Royal Harbour youngsters excitedly viewed the installation of their art yesterday, ahead of the opening this weekend.

Student Thomas Hitch, 13, said: “It was an amazing experience and we learned to do so much.”

The youngster, who had already been involved in photography, added: “It has inspired my love of photography even more.”

Fellow school student Bethany Sheely, also 13, added: “It is nice that it is all free so anyone who wants to can come and have a look. It was fun taking the photos and a great experience.”

Students viewing their exhibition with Tim and Janet from Project Motorhouse

Janet Fielding, who founded Project Motorhouse, said: “The students really loved it so I asked (Turner Contemporary head of exhibitions) Sarah Martin to come and have a look at our colourful and joyous show.

“Art should be fun, it doesn’t always have to be serious. Photographer Tim Topple went into the school to do sessions and had a lot of cameras! The students enjoyed those and there were no barriers to getting involved, we paid fares etc.”

Photo Tim Topple

Tim said working with the students was “nothing but rewarding,” adding that there were a lot of ‘firsts’ in the project.

He said: “For many it was the first time they had held a camera and definitely the first time they’ve been exhibited in a gallery space, it’s all about breaking down barriers. They are very excited about it.”

The children’s art library and Fantastical Worlds exhibition runs alongside two new shows opening tomorrow – – Stephen Cripps: In Real Life and Lindsay Seers and Keith Sargent: Cold Light.

Turner Contemporary is open Tuesday – Sunday 10am -5pm (last entry 4pm).

Artwork and, inset, artist Chris Tipping

The proposal for Warm Banks was raised in response to the cost of living crisis and energy hikes. Earlier this year there were calls at Kent County Council to identify places to be used.

Kent County Council’s shadow cabinet member for adult social care, Cllr Kelly Grehan (Lab) was preparing a list of places where people could keep warm and go to sit to play games, chat, use computers and play activities for free, or at minimal cost.

Suggested “warm bank” venues include churches and libraries to allow people to go sit, play games, use computers and engage in other activities for free.

A donation from County Councillor Barry Lewis is being used for a warm bank at Millmead SureStart Children’s Centre in Margate.


  1. At last the Turder is performing a useful function. How embarrassing there is more art in those collages than there is in the rest of the place from the ‘Modern Artists’

  2. 1st i totaly agree with peter , the money thats been spaffed on that place and art over the years could have been better spent
    2nd fred – re the comments , they are to frightened to let us rock the boat ( no pun ) if you drive past the ” centre ” theres more security than fort knox – why ? i thought they are all law abiding people in there ?
    3rd its just a way of trying to justify the turners presence in thanet

  3. Good for the school children, but the money the Turner centre cost to run each year is vast,stop the subsidies for the place, charge an entrance fee ,and suddenly ,I could guarantee ,it will close within ,a few years,oh how the arty lobby will be crying in their paint boxes

  4. “Money better spent elsewhere ” etc.
    But, if we think about it, would a government that believed that they have no money to spend on art actually spend money on genuinely useful services?
    Would the current government, for example, suddenly decide “I know, let’s not spend that Margate money on an art gallery. Let’s build flats and houses for an affordable rent! Or spend it on Care for the vulnerable in their own homes or in properly staffed Care Homes!”
    They won’t ,will they? They have plenty of opportunity to do that and they refuse. They don’t believe in helping people! It goes against their deepest beliefs. And it probably goes against the deepest beliefs of most of the people complaining about the Turner Gallery.
    At least we are getting an art gallery which can be used to keep warm during the winter.

  5. It’s good stuff. Don’t hate on the Turner. It’s free, educational, employees people etc. arguing it’s money wasted is silly. Like it or not it it has indirectly brought more money into the area. How about you vent that dissatisfaction at the government. They should have plenty of money to divest into other schemes. Don’t complain about the peanuts they provide, demand they provide more to support more.

    • It’s not “free”. It is publicly funded.

      As for “more money into the area”, have you actually been to Margate High Street recently? I went last week, and I’ve now vowed NEVER to visit again. It is by far the most run down High Street in Kent!

    • Bingo ,the Turner centre is not ,it might be free to enter,but costs a fortune,in money from the government via arts council,KCC and no doubt TDC,you are paying for it via your bank balance,if you had to pay to enter would you keep going over and over again ,I doubt it ,most people would say it’s to expensive to go

      • Yes, correct. Free at the point of entry is what I meant. Imagine in the scheme of things the amount of my taxes that are paying for it are , relatively, minuscule. Even those that don’t contribute taxes can enjoy… I don’t mind. Happy to agree to disagree. I believe it is a great addition to the area. Its another topic that greatly divides the local community….. However more should be done tackle the deprivation in the area.

  6. People on here don’t have a basic grasp on economics. Visitors to the Turner contemporary benefit the local economy. They come to the gallery and spend money in local businesses, they shop, they eat, they stay in local hotels. This money is distributed throughout the local economy in further waves through wages and other supply purchases. The Turner and Carl Freedman Galleries and their associated exhibitions bring on huge numbers of tourists.

    This who bemoan Margate becoming a center for the arts, would you prefer it remained a kiss me quick seaside town closed for half the year? The Art galleries ensure that tourists visit all year round and feed into the economy all year round. Turner doesn’t charge a fee as it wants to make art accessible to people who can’t afford to pay. Imagine the uproar if they started charging and some locals couldn’t afford the fee, I’m sure one or two of you would be screaming and shouting with outrage.

    As for the high street, there are a number of businesses attempting to make it up there. The lower section near the crossing has a brand new Greek bakery ‘Olympia’ and The Centre is near full capacity with tenants. How many of you go shop in the High Street or center? Visitors to Margates art scene will continue to keep some of these businesses trading through the difficult national economic situation developing, thus stopping further creep of empty shop front.

    Instead of this continued moan on most posts why not start a local business, register on Thanet Planning Portal and constructively voice your objections to planned developments that don’t suit the local area or benefit the community. Become a positive force in changing Margate for all instead of red faced keyboard warriors shouting at the moon.

    • Margate High Street is a sh*t hole – literally. When I went there last week, I could smell the public toilets before I even turned the corner, absolutely diabolical! Add to that the vagrants in doorways (moved on at WWX by private security), and it is NOT a place many people would want to go shopping in, even if there were more shops.

      • Once again Peter responds with his I hate this, this is bad, blah blah blah. Negative diatribe.

        Well I do shop there regularly and your comments are massively exaggerated. Infact I put hundreds of pounds a month back into the local economy can you say the same?

        • Yes, I hate filthy toilets, and I’m not keen on vagrants begging in doorways either.

          Yes, I do put 100’s per month into the local economy – mainly Birchington, Minnis Bay, Westgate and St. Nicholas. There’s life beyond Margate, y’know.

  7. Once again specifically talking about Margate, not thanets villages. I distinctly remember you saying on previous articles Margate needed a lot of regeneration and cleaning up, seems like you aren’t really offering anything but empty critical words. I don’t tend to comment on any articles about Birchington, Westgate, Ramsgate because I don’t live there. Hint hint.

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