A new art gallery opened on 12 May 2000. It is in a quite remarkable building on the south bank of the River Thames, in London. The building was formerly a power station, used to generate electricity. The new gallery is the Tate Gallery of Modern Art, or Tate Modern.
But why is it called the Tate Gallery?
It is named after a Victorian industrialist called Henry Tate. You probably know the name Tate from tins of golden syrup. Tate and Lyle. Henry Tate was a sugar refiner who made a fortune from patenting a machine for cutting sugar into dice-sized cubes to put into sugar bowls on people's tea tables. He used some of his money to buy works of art by painters who were his contemporaries. But he did not want to keep his beautiful paintings to himself. So in the 1880s he founded a public art gallery on the north bank of the River Thames in London. Today it is known as the Tate Gallery. In very recent years the Tate Gallery has been able to expand, partly because of money from the national lottery, and there is a Tate Gallery in Liverpool and another one in St.Ives in Cornwall. It is just a hundred years since Henry Tate died, on 5 December 1899, but he is remembered today as a generous man who founded public libraries as well as an art gallery for the benefit of ordinary people like ourselves.