A short history of Marine House at Beer and Steam Gallery
Marine House opened its doors for the first time in 1998. Its gestation was curious.
The owners Mike and Rosemary Lambert had for many years had a holiday cottage in Beer, which is an accessible spot for those wishing to escape from the hustle and bustle of London, the South East or the Midlands and South Wales for a weekend break or a holiday, or to relocate.
Mike owned a Kensington-based marketing company and Rosemary ran a travel company. We were tired of commuting and in truth were looking for an alternative. On a visit to Beer we noticed that Marine House was for sale. It was large, sad and decrepit, so we bought it. Our initial plan was to restore the building and create high quality holiday rental apartments above the retail space. On nearing completion our thoughts turned to the retail area which we initially thought we would rent.
We had always enjoyed and collected arts and crafts and in a moment of inspiration, some might say madness, we thought Beer and the retail space would make a good location for an art gallery. If all went well it would give us an exit strategy from London.
The local consensus and indeed the view of artists approached to be part of the initial launch was uniformly pessimistic, “An art gallery in Beer? That won’t work there!” The late Michael Morgan RI, perhaps the region’s most distinguished artist, was, like many, so bemused that he agreed to participate and became and remains one of our most celebrated artists.
Perhaps our timing was right, perhaps Beer really did need a gallery, perhaps Marine House had a special magic, but with the style both friendly and informal and the quality of the work exhibited high but sensibly priced, success was achieved from day one – a success which has continued to grow over sixteen years.
Four years from launch we extended our range by opening Steam Gallery, also in Beer, enabling us to widen our selection with particular emphasis on Studio Glass and Sculptural Pottery.
It’s been fun and exciting and continues to be so for us, our staff, our artists and hopefully for you our customers.