About The Trust
Why Art, Craft, Design And Social Care?
In 1968 a fellow Quaker wrote “Crofton Gane’s main concern was that men should enjoy their work and find fulfilment in it. All his activities, spread over his long life, arose from his faith in man's inherent dignity as a maker. He believed that man would come through because God is in him. He believed, therefore, in tomorrow. Beauty of form and excellence of craftsmanship were his delight.”
The Trust’s Origins
The Gane Trust was created at Bristol in 1954, by Crofton Gane (1877-1967). A pioneering furniture designer and manufacturer, his was a family firm, first Trapnell and Co., then Trapnell and Gane, then Gane’s of Bristol. He joined the firm in 1896, served in the Friends’ Ambulance Division in the First World War, returned to Bristol and became passionate about the new modern spirit in design, founding a Bristol branch of the newly formed Design and Industries Association.
Crofton Gane And Modernism
Under his leadership a traditional furniture firm became a remarkable (and rare) champion of modern design in Britain. When the leading Bauhaus designer, Marcel Breuer, came to Britain as a refugee from Nazi Germany, a lifelong friendship began. Among his many commissions for Gane was one of Breuer’s two all-time favourite buildings - the little Gane Pavilion, built in 1936 for the Royal Show in Ashton Park. It was to showcase Gane furniture, which for customers “created a new way of living adapted to the modern world”.
It is not surprising that Crofton should have set up a trust to better people’s lives. The firm was a model for human relations - as early as 1935 a bonus scheme and medical scheme were introduced which included share allotments for the workers. He was fascinated by fresh ideas and quick to give the word of encouragement, continually writing to people who were undertaking some creative service. To everything that was making a "contribution" (to use his favourite word) he was willing to give his great energy, his thought and his money.
“He never grew old. He had a continuous joy in living and his questing, eager, always hopeful spirit sustained him. Even in his last years when his tall figure was bent and his hearing was difficult he used to sing to himself as he walked across the Downs on his way to Meeting for Worship.”
Meet The Trustees
Who are we?
We are a group of eight trustees who live in the Bristol-Bath area. Between us we aim to represent all the interests of the Gane Trust, and the range of skills required to run a charity. Our experience covers:
- Social care
What do we do?
We meet three times a year to award Gane grants, which we take very seriously. We meet in between for events or to discuss specific topics - the new website, finance or organising visits.
Specific trustees have built up relationships with our partner Universities and Colleges, so we keep in touch with staff within departments, and we always present awards ourselves.
We are active in many ways. We organise the biennial Gane Trust/DIA lecture on design, we present an award for the Society of Designer Craftsmen at their annual show and we recently stepped in to save an iconic group of 1930s furniture for Bristol, designed by Marcel Breuer.