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


James Kent Burkitt was Blackpool District Librarian for nearly two decades and also supported arts and literary societies across the Fylde.

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

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

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James Kent Burkitt, former Grundy Art Gallery curator and Blackpool librarian, dead aged 81

It was on the track before the start 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 moved to the Fylde Coast when James became District Librarian of Blackpool Libraries and part-time curator of the Grundy Art Gallery in 1977.

He introduced classic midday shows on weekdays and very successfully revived the Grundys’ fortunes.

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

Former Grundy Art Gallery Curator and Blackpool Librarian James Kent Burkitt

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

After Iola died 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 then in Borgue, Kirkcudbrightshire.

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

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

Funeral details of Funeral Directors Ian Bendall, Castle Douglas.

A service of thanksgiving will be held at the town hall of Borgue after the burial at noon on May 13 at the church of Borgue.

Donations to Sightsavers and Alzheimer’s research are welcome.


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