The Rectory - Outsider Art in the North West of England


In a previous article I compared Lomography with today’s renewable energy technologies: taking something old and bringing it into the 21st Century. In this article I’m looking at the artistic side of Lomography.

Outsider Art is described on Wikipedia thus:

“the English term “outsider art” is often applied more broadly, to include certain self-taught or Naïve art makers who were never institutionalised. Typically, those labeled as outsider artists have little or no contact with the mainstream art world or art institutions… Often, outsider art illustrates… unconventional ideas, or elaborate fantasy worlds."

Sounds like Lomography to me! And so, with my Lubitel166U and my Holga 120GN (surely the best camera ever made?) I set off to visit North West England’s own little haven of Outsider Art – The Rectory Garden Centre.

For over thirty years, Kevin Duffy has been building a tiny world of fantasy in his back yard. Somewhat resembling a Tudor village crossed with Alice In Wonderland, this other world sits in the middle of a Post-War housing estate like a defiant beacon of individualism. Funded by the garden centre business that he runs (along with donations from the public), Kevin uses whatever he can lay his hands on to build this magical place; old doors, shop mannequins, donated musical instruments – there is even a nice little display of vintage cameras in one of the buildings!

With no training whatsoever Duffy (with the help of his son) has brightened up this dull corner of the North West and created a wonderful, dreamlike space – a perfect place to wander around with a couple of cameras and bag full of film. Which is exactly what I did.

For more information, including visiting times and directions, visit

written by panchoballard on 2010-10-23 #places #location #outsider-art #tudor-village #travel-destinationarchitecture-art


  1. kvboyle
    kvboyle ·

    Cool place and great pictures, the black and white ones work really well!

  2. phil2k90
    phil2k90 ·

    I had no idea that even existed - I must pay a visit next weekend!

  3. raymac
    raymac ·

    I have a few shots on my home from there, it's only a couple of miles away from my house. A fascinating place.

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