Cats at school and cats at home: companion plate for wall decorations, Ernest Nister, 1892, Copyright British Library

Cats and their capers will be celebrated in a fascinating new exhibition at The Atkinson in Southport, courtesy of The British Library. 

Cats on the Page opens this Saturday (12 September 2020) and will run until 9 January 2021. 

The Atkinson, on Lord Street, will show our furry feline friends in rhymes and stories familiar to us from our childhood.

Whether raising a smile, solving a crime, wreaking magical havoc or even performing in theatre, cats take centre stage in this free exhibition.

Alison Bailey, Lead Curator of Printed Heritage Collections 1901-2000 at the British Library said: “By bringing cats we know and love together with new ones from unexpected sources, Cats on the Page showcases the light-hearted side of the British Library’s world-class collections.

“We can do this through a selection of just some of the hundreds of paws prowling the pages of our books and manuscripts.

“We are excited to allow visitors to explore the myriad ways in which cats have captured the cultural imagination for hundreds of years.”

Exuberant and playful? Or more mysterious and threatening? Cats come to life in books, manuscripts and artwork to captivate and inspire.


Tabby Polka by P. Bucalossi

Tabby Polka by P. Bucalossi

Renew your acquaintance with familiar favourites including Mog, Winnie the Witch and T S Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, while meeting some new friends from around the world.

The exhibition also features a selection of sound recordings for all ages including a reading of Macavity the Mystery Cat by T.S. Eliot, songs from the musical Cats and Disney’s The Aristocats and music by The Cure.

Stephen Whittle, Principal Manager, Museum, Gallery & Operations, at The Atkinson in Southport, said: “We are so pleased to be able to show ‘Cats on the Page’ from the British Library.

“Every cat lover is going to be thrilled with this exhibition.

“Just about every famous cat who ever lived is here, from The Cat in the Hat to Fat Freddy’s cat, Slinky Malinky and, my personal favourite, Mog.

“We also have famous cat illustrators and authors, including Axel Scheffler and Julia Donaldson, Quentin Blake and Lewis Carroll.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the British Library’s feline treasures all in one place.

“As they prowl the pages, these feline characters are sure to delight all ages – and especially anyone who loves cats!” 

For more details please visit:

Cats on the Page at The Atkinson on Lord Street in Southport is free entry, with the exhibition open Monday to Saturday, between 11am and 4pm. 


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