The Contractors Move In

Stuart the site manager for the contractors (Stone Edge) was welcomed at 7.30am this morning to start the run in for what will be a tight restoration schedule. At the same time there is a lot of preparation needed by the GMBPT and the EWS, especially removing items to a safe storage area and journeys to the waste disposal site.

Nick the EWS archivist was also on site to safely store all the vital research material that has been sourced over the years. Nick’s space is almost empty or at least the selves, but the hall is another story. 

Restoration is ‘Go’ for the School Rooms at Long St. Methodist Church

Following delay after delay, the contract for the restoration of the school rooms has been signed and the contractors, Stone Edge will move in on Monday. All was confirmed at the meeting this morning. The photograph below shows Lisa of Seven Architects on the left , followed by Sue the Conservation officer managing the THI and Keith, Mark and Stuart from Stone Edge. Also in attendance were representatives of the Greater Manchester Building Preservation Trust.A press release appeared in today’s publication of the Middleton Guardian stating that “The Long Street Methodist School is Grade 11*, which means it’s in the top 5% of important historic buildings in the country”. Also when completed in 1900 by the famous Middleton born  architect Edgar Wood, “The design was ground-breaking at the time because it featured the Arts and Crafts style that EW was famous for, but also showcases the beginning of the Art Nouveau influence before this architectural style became widely popular.”

An Evening Visit by the Middleton Rotarians

The first evening tour in the dark (only outside) took place this evening. Our visitors were the Middleton Rotary and their President, Janice Powell is on the left of tour guide Christine. A general overview was given in the Church, followed by a virtual tour of EW’s buildings in Middleton by the way of a Power Point presentation. Several members had previous ties with the building, one brought his daughter to the Brownies in the early 1980s and another met his wife here in ___ ? a long time ago.

If you would like more information about the Rotary, their web site is www.middletonrotary.org.uk

Edgar Wood Society AGM & Lecture 2017

There was a good turnout of the membership at the 2017 Edgar Wood Society Annual General Meeting, 2pm today. As well as the normal proceedings, society chair, David Morris, updated everyone on the recent THI grant offer for restoring Long Street Methodist Sunday School and the various events, research and other activities of the society over 2017.

Secretary, Christine Grime, then explained how there would be a new series of events running concurrently with the restoration of the buildings and a fund raising project to pay for certain items not covered by the grant… watch this space! David then gave an illustrated talk about the Edgar Wood & Middleton THI and the buildings that have been restored since 2011.

Shortly after 3pm, architectural historian and society curator, Nick Baker, gave a fascinating lecture called “Edgar Wood – Manchester’s Original Modern Architect”. Nick provided a breathtaking sweep across the European and USA avant garde architectural developments at the turn of the last century and showed how Edgar Wood played a vital part in developing international modern architecture before the First World War.

 

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.

Restored Jubilee Park Staircase is Officially Opened

 

Edgar Wood’s restored Jubilee Park staircase with its unique curved exedra was officially opened at 12 noon on 13th October, 2017 by the Mayor of Rochdale, Councillor Ian Duckworth. Also in attendance were MP liz McInnes, Mayoress Christine Duckworth, Chairman of the THI board Mr. Malcolm Alan and Councillor June West. The photograph was taken by surveyor, Lynda Jubb, who oversaw the conservation work. It was funded by the Edgar Wood & Middleton THI.

This was, in fact, the very first official opening. The original opening ceremony was cancelled because the benefactor, T. B. Wood, Edgar Wood’s father, was taken seriously ill and it was never rescheduled. At that time, the staircase had a unique art deco drinking fountain at the top and was known as the Jubilee Drinking Fountain.

Click Here for details of the history of the Jubilee Drinking Fountain and its restoration.

 

Total Focus at Andy’s photographic Workshop

The allotted places were filled for Andy’s ‘How to Photograph Buildings’ workshop. Technical, practical and food were all covered, but not necessarily in that order. Within an hour of finishing I have had emails,  “Hi Geoff, please thank Andy on my behalf, he is inspirational and I learned a great deal”. “It was brilliant and Terry and I enjoyed it very much indeed. The lunch was delicious too”.  If you only considered coming on this event, you missed a real treat. Thank you Andy for giving us the benefit of your knowledge, talent and enthusiasm and Cliff for the featured image of Andy.

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”

What is Destroying the Lawn in the Church Garden?

Extensive damage is occurring to the lawn as can be seen in the images. It has been suggested that it may be foxes, cats, badgers or birds. Whatever animal it is and what it is looking for is not the 20p piece, this just for scale. Any suggestion and cure would be welcomed.

Banner Comes Down on Heritage Open Days

The Heritage Open Days banner was taken down at 5.00pm after another successful three days at the Arts & Crafts Church with in excess of 150 visitors. At 2.00pm a group of 15 weathered the rain to do a walking tour of the Edgar Wood buildings and the Sam Bamford monument. It is good to know that Middleton and its heritage is being recognised in the wider area with visitors making a special journey down from Askham in Furness and many others from outside the Greater Manchester area. One written comment was “Middleton needs to be on the cultural tourist trail” we all agree with this.

A big than you to the volunteers that helped to make the three days so rewarding for the visitors, which is reflected in many comments on the visitors sheet. The next event is on Wed 13 Sept see the following link.

http://middletonheritage.co.uk/events/the-making-of-modern-middleton-part-1

Heritage Open Days Gets Off To A Busy Start

A busy and worthwhile opening to the first day of the heritage weekend at the Arts & Crafts Church with over 50 visitors travelling from around the region, despite the heavy down pours. When the sun did shine various architectural features lit up to reveal their full splendour.

It was good to hear the visitors say how impressed they were by this beautiful building.

Heritage Open Days Only 5 Days Away

The Arts and Crafts Church – Long Street Methodist Church and School Rooms will be open for visitors on Friday, Saturday 10am-4pm and Sunday 1-4pm, September 8-10th.

For details of other places to visit in the area, click on the links below or copy into your browser:

www.heritageopendays.org.uk

www.middletonheritage.co.uk

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”

Grand Day Out – Pownall and Bramall Halls

On August 12th thirty eight people set off on the Edgar Wood Society’s visit to Pownall and Bramhall Halls. It was a wonderful day with so many beautiful objects to admire.

At Pownall the star of the show for many was the outstanding stained glass, probably by Carl Almquist of the Lancaster firm,  Shrigley and Hunt. Pownall also gave us the opportunity to see the only known example of the Century Guild’s work in its original setting. Mackmurdo fireplaces, De Morgan tiles, Art Nouveau door hinges – an absolute feast for the senses! Have a look through the gallery below. Continue reading “Grand Day Out – Pownall and Bramall Halls”