Tribute to former Grundy Art Gallery curator and Blackpool librarian, James Kent Burkitt

A Blackpool librarian and former curator of the Grundy Art Gallery has died aged 81.

Monday, 2nd May 2022, 3:45 pm

James Kent Burkitt served as Blackpool District Librarian for nearly two decades and also supported arts and literature societies across the Fylde.

Born in Liverpool, James was educated at Clifton College, Bristol and Leeds Polytechnic where he studied librarianship.

In 1966 James volunteered with the Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) where he provided travelling library services in Zambia.

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James Kent Burkitt, former curator of the Grundy Art Gallery and Blackpool librarian, who has died aged 81

It was on the runway before departure that he met Iola Bari Adams, who would become his future wife and mother of his children.

The couple married in October 1967 and later settled on the Fylde coast when James became District Librarian of Blackpool Libraries and part time curator of the Grundy Art Gallery in 1977.

He introduced weekday lunchtime classical performances and very successfully revived the fortunes of the Grundy.

James continued in his role as District Librarian until 1996 when he retired and immersed himself in the local arts.

Former curator of the Grundy Art Gallery and Blackpool librarian James Kent Burkitt

He became an active member of the Lytham St Annes Art Society and also helped to organise exhibitions at the Booths Art Gallery in Lytham.

Following Iola’s death in October 2009, James was lucky enough to find love again and married Brenda Grierson.

They spent many happy years together first in Ribchester and subsequently in Borgue, Kirkcudbrightshire.

James died in Dumfries and Galloway Hospital on April, 20 following an injury sustained in a fall at home.

He leaves his wife Brenda, his older sister Carys, daughters Ann and Lucy, his son Tom and eight grandchildren.

Funeral details from Ian Bendall Funeral Directors, Castle Douglas.

A service of thanksgiving will be held in Borgue Village Hall following interment at noon on May 13 at Borgue Church.

Donations to Sightsavers and Alzheimer's Research welcome.