Preparations for Visit to the Edgar Wood Centre, Manchester

Edgar Wood Society’s David Morris met up with (left to right) Bill, Danny (and his dog) and Pete to see how Edgar Wood’s First Church was faring in its restoration and to assist with some conservation issues.

The Edgar Wood Society is visiting this Saturday and Danny wanted the building to look its best (as far as you can while restoring it). The external redecoration is well under-way and the new garden planting is looking good. All future lighting will be fixed in the garden not on the buiding. The latest set of works included the removal of vast amounts of cabling, trunking and electrical fittings, from when the Centre was used as offices. Two modern radiators have also been removed, exposing more of the original marble panelling and now the historic skirting  boards are also being restored. The interior is starting to look very good. 

Redecoration well under-way – original Edgar Wood colours discovered

July saw a flurry of paint brushes as the restoration moved onto the redecoration of the interior.  Colour sampling by David Morris brought to light the original Edgar Wood colours for all but two of the rooms. The image above shows the original scheme for the Ladies Parlour which was painted in a William Morris style grey-green. The School Hall was found to have eleven coats of paint… at one time the walls were painted bright red/orange! Edgar Wood’s colour was pale blue making for a fresh and relaxed interior. See the coloured up photos below… the old colour scheme is on the left and the new one is on the right. Continue reading “Redecoration well under-way – original Edgar Wood colours discovered”

Successful Edgar Wood Arts & Crafts day

David Morris treated 15 Edgar Wood enthusiasts to a day of visits and talks about the art and craft of the great Manchester architect.

They first visited Jubilee Library, built in 1887 and one of the earliest arts & crafts libraries in the country, blending rustic oak timber framing with state-of-the-art reinforced concrete.

At St. Leonard’s Church people saw stunning arts and crafts windows by a host of famous designers, including Christopher Whall and A. K. Nicholson. Edgar Wood designed the beautifully traditional roof and oversaw the conservation of the building in 1907. His crafted drawing of the medieval rood screen showed how it was before conservation.

Everyone then went to view Edgar Wood’s 1906 redesign of Jubilee Park which had the old Middleton church crowning the landscape. The art deco fountain awaits restoration but the ceremonial staircase is now looking good. David later showed slides on how the fountain and park could be restored to their original art deco design.

The fourth visit was to 36 Mellalieu Street. It was designed the same time in 1906 and shoes a perfect blend of advanced modern styling and old vernacular features.

Edgar Wood’s creation of early art deco styling was much in evidence in the afternoon slideshows as was his pioneering of art nouveau and thr arts anf crafts.

These buildings illustrated the early and mature phases of Edgar Wood’s architecture. His stylish middle period was also much in evidence in the venue of the day, the Arts & Crafts church, Long Street Methodist.

The event was relaxed and informal with an exhibition of Edgar Wood relatef artefacts, books and paintings provided by the Edgar Wood Society.

David thanks Geoff Grime, Dave Brennand, Tim Hill and the staff of Jubilee Library for making their buildings accessible and Mark Watson for providing the paintings.

Nick Baker talks about Pennine Arts and Crafts

Last night at Lindley Methodist Church, Huddersfield, 80 people attended a fascinating lecture by Nick Baker about the Arts & Crafts Movement in the Pennine areas and the impact of the Northern Art Workers Guild.

Nick identified the principal architects, such as Barry Parker, Edgar Wood and Walter Brierley and the Guild’s artists, like sculptor J. J. Millson, plasterer J. R. Cooper, metal worker George Wragge, painter Frederick Jackson, and sculptor Stirling Lee, who combined their talents to enrich the strucures erected by the architects, both on the outside and in the decoration and furnishing of rooms.

Hollins Hill, now Haworth Art Gallery, Accrington, 1909, by Walter Brierley

Nick introduced the audience to many new buildings as well as presenting old favourites in a new light. He also highlighted the importance of the northern Arts & Crafts movement to the development of European fin de siecle architecture and how buildings like the grade I listed Banney Royd, Egerton, Huddersfield had international fame.

Banney Royd, Egerton, 1900, by Edgar Wood

First Church of Christ Scientist

The Edgar Wood Society assists the conservation of Edgar Wood buildings wherever it can and, over the years, has met many owners. This is the wonderful First Church, Manchester, which is to have a new use for events and weddings. The photo shows the owner, Mr. Danny Samuels (centre), Bill Wingrove and P.R. expert Becky Roberts with the famous organ screen in the background.

Edgar Wood lecture given to Chester Civic Trust

This evening, Edgar Wood Society chair, David Morris, gave an illustrated lecture to Chester Civic Trust entitled “Edgar Wood – that Remarkable Manchester Architect”. The event was held in the Grosvenor Museum, Chester and, afterwards, David joined a group who retired to a nearby pub for an enjoyable chat about Edgar Wood and his buildings. The Trust is now planning a visit to Middleton next year.

Edgar Wood houses listed as (possibly) the first art nouveau houses in the world

Hillcrest and Briarhill, 37-39 Rochdale Road, Middleton were built by Edgar Wood in 1892 as ‘new art’ town houses, next door to Redcroft and Fencegate, 33-35 Rochdale Road, which were a matching pair of ‘country houses’.

After detailed research by the research group of the Edgar Wood Society for Heritage Trust for the North West, Hillcrest and Briarhill have now been listed grade II, despite their poor condition. They have enormous historical importance as possibly the worlds first art nouveau houses. Edgar Wood’s design was published in the UK, USA and Europe in 1893 and it pre-dates by a year what are generally considered to be the ‘world’s first’ art nouveau designs by Belgium’s Victor Horta and Paul Hankar.

Continue reading “Edgar Wood houses listed as (possibly) the first art nouveau houses in the world”

Mumbai art deco

Mumbai art deco – Increasingly, towns and cities with art deco buildings are beginning to value them.  Mumbai is India’s largest city with over two hundred art deco buildings and, in this regard, is second only to Miami, USA. Here are two recent articles with photos about Mumbai’s art deco…  Mumbai’s Art Deco buildings survive against the odds  and  Take a virtual tour of Mumbai’s Art Deco treasures  …There’s also a website dedicated to the city’s art deco… http://www.artdecomumbai.com/

Restoration of the Wesleyan School – Update

The Greater Manchester Building Preservation Trust’s THI grant scheme to restore the Long Street Wesleyan School has been racing along these last few months, headed by architect, Lisa Mcfarlane of Seven Architecture. The finance is almost all in place, the work has been tendered and a contractor chosen. Now the final details are being nailed down.

Continue reading “Restoration of the Wesleyan School – Update”

Willow Tea Rooms update

Willow Tea Rooms update – The last time I saw Mackintosh’s Willow Tea Rooms, they were looking a little seedy. Now the exterior is fully restored with the interior to follow (via an eye-watering restoration budget). Here are two articles with photos bringing you up to date…  Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s restored Willow Tea Rooms revealed  and  Willow Tea Rooms will complete stunning transformation with £4m lottery boost.