Trailing Henry: The Slide Show
Tate Modern & Brixton Tate Library, London, May - August 2011

On 1st May 2011, we hid five hundred golden tickets in various books in Brixton Tate Library. The books referenced specific themes, including sugar, Victoriana, labour, art, Black history, Charles Dickens, employment and architecture. Posters were dotted around the library, inviting patrons to search for the tickets. The first twelve people to find them became part of our research group, exploring the philanthropic legacy of Sir Henry Tate over three Saturday day trips throughout the summer of 2011.

During these trips, the party met local history experts or those with specific knowledge relating to the project; aiding us in tracing the flow of capital generated by Henry Tate & Sons sugar refineries (later to become Tate & Lyle) to the Tate Libraries and Tate Gallery we know today.


Trailing Henry: The Slide Show is a sharing of our trips to the Tate & Lyle sugar refinery in Silvertown, the Tate Britain archive, Tate’s former mansion in Streatham, Park Hill (effectively home of the first Tate collection) and West Norwood Cemetery, home of the Tate family mausoleum. In the Slide Show, we showed photographs in the spirit of holiday-makers sharing their snaps with those who did not travel.

Trailing Henry: The Slide Show is itself a beginning; the first seed of a sprawling expansive project titled His statue is outside the library in the square. An exploration of the politics, aspirations and agendas of philanthropy from corporations to personal giving. It aims to encourage, facilitate and instigate philanthropy on a micro-scale. How might the patrons of Brixton Tate Library collectively make an impact similar to Sir Henry Tate within their own cultural landscape in South London?

This project is supported by Tate Regeneration and Community Partnerships, Tate Modern and Brixton Tate Library.

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