Manchester Age UK Group Visit the Golden Cluster

opr00256On Thursday the 12 March a group from Manchester Age UK visited the Arts and Crafts Church for a tour followed by lunch at the Old Boar’s Head P.H. next door. They particularly liked the small rose windows in the porch doors.

As they were visiting the Parish Church in the afternoon, Christine told them to look out for the various windows there by Arts & Craft’s designer Christopher Whall. A visiting expert Alec Hamilton, has suggested that we investigate the possibility that Whall also made the rose windows at the Arts and Crafts Church.

Lettings Group

The newly formed Lettings Group met on Monday 9 March to consider all the requirements necessary, relating to the hire and lettings of the rooms. This was a mind boggling session and we are now starting to work our way through all the regulations regarding applying for a Premises Licence.

Arts & Crafts Awakening/Middleton Heritage Workshop

Our Arts and Crafts awakening meeting went extremely well this evening, 4th March. We learnt from Chris that The Arts & Crafts Trust was now fully incorporated. We have achieved our first objective!

We decided to create two sub-groups – the Lettings Group are moving ahead with the Urban Village Hall plan and will be meeting on Monday, while a Heritage Study Centre will meet tomorrow to make progress on that aspect.

After the meeting, we photographed the celebratory tablet which was made by James Smithies for the Middleton & Tonge Co-operative Building Society in 1928. We hope to have a special post on Smithies shortly.

Newly discovered Edgar Wood house is Listed

The Croft, Hinderwell (4)_proc The Croft, Hinderwell (8)_procThe Croft, Hinderwell (6)_procThe Croft, Hinderwell (3)_procEdgar Wood is connected to the Staithes Group artists’ colony through his friendship with the Middleton born Staithes artists James W. Booth and, especially, Fred Jackson. In fact, the famous photograph of Fred Jackson with Laura Knight most likely shows Edgar Wood next to Jackson – wearing his trademark hat!

Recent research by several people has brought to light a previously unknown Edgar Wood designed house, The Croft at Hinderwell, near Staithes, built for Henry Silkstone Hopwood. Hopwood was a founder member of the Staithes Art Club of painters, becoming its chairman in 1902 when the house was built: a flat roofed outbuilding next to the house is thought to have originally served as artists’ studios used by club members.

English Heritage has now listed the building for its special historic interest and has now been published on the National Heritage List for England. Below are the details we have been sent.

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Edgar Wood season kicks-off in Yorkshire

John Rumsby gave a great lecture on Edgar Wood’s wonderful Yorkshire buildings at the Arts & Crafts Church on Saturday afternoon (21st Feb).

It was Edgar’s mother’s family, the Sykes’ of Lindley, who welcomed the young architect to West Yorkshire. He eventually became its principal Arts & Crafts architect, inspiring many others to copy him. It is as though Wood lived a parallel architectural life there, his robust stone buildings being quite different to those in the Manchester area.

The audience were so impressed with the talk that the Edgar Wood Society is now planning a Yorkshire trip for the summer!

This was the first event in the 2015 Edgar Wood Society calendar. This year is dedicated to Edgar Wood and the Arts & Crafts Movement in the heritage Lottery Fund’s THI programme for Middleton.

Salford University Students Study Trip

Friday (20th Feb) saw around 30 surveying and property management students from Salford University visit the Arts & Crafts Church, led by Simon McLean, Lecturer in  Building Surveying. Conservation surveyor Rupert Hilton, who set up the trip, explained to students the repair and conservation issues being tackled, Christine Grime took them on a walking tour of other Edgar Wood buildings, while David Morris showed them around the Long Street Methodist church and school. The format worked very well and in the words of Simon, “it really was brilliant, the students are buzzing“.

Locality Workshop 7 – Urban Village Hall

The Arts and Crafts Awakening project is now working on using the former Long Street School hall as a place for community events and activities – an urban village hall.  With Lindsey and Chris from Locality, we are planning to submit a Lottery ‘Awards for All’ scheme to get things off the ground this year.

Middleton is short of community space, so there is a real need for this. Community activities will also complement our longer terms plans for commercial uses.  The meeting (on Tuesday 17th Feb) was very successful with the largest attendance so far. We also began setting up a local history archive and study area in two of the classrooms.

The next meeting is set for 6pm Wednesday 4th March. Don’t miss it!

Research Group for new Middleton Film

We had a good Edgar Wood Society committee meeting on Thursday (12th Feb). One of the things we decided was to set up a research group to look at the key historical figures around Edgar Wood and Long Street Methodist Church.

Much of what we put together with be incorporated into the planned ‘Romantic Middleton and the Modern Era’ film being organised by the Middleton Heritage Film Group.

The group will research the following…

  1. Long Street Methodist Church – history, people and activities before 1950
  2. LSM – history, people and activities after 1950

  3. Artists Fred Jackson, James W. Booth, (William) Edward Stott of Rochdale, William Stott of Oldham

  4. Craft workers associated with Edgar Wood and Northern Art Workers Guild

  5. Clients of Edgar Wood buildings

  6. Julia Schwabe of Rhodes

If you have access to any material, please email to let us know!

Locality Workshop 6 – The Arts & Crafts Trust

There was a happy atmosphere as Arts & Crafts Awakening created a new company called The Arts & Crafts Trust yesterday evening (11th Feb). Seven people signed up as directors, with Christine taking on the role of company Secretary.

This feels just the right number and allows a good number to remain as members and supporters of the project. Chris and Lindsey guided us through the evening and the signing of forms etc. Chris will now submit our application to Companies House.

Our next meeting will be 6pm next Tuesday where Chris and Lindsey will help us think through our Middleton and Arts & Crafts heritage offer. We will also discuss the details of our planned Awards for All Grant to help set up community facilities at the Long Street School.

Locality Workshop 5 – we go for incorporation

It was a cold start to the meeting as David forgot to switch on the boiler! However, we soon got going with Lindsey and Chris guiding us through the evening’s training. At one point we took a vote on whether to go for incorporation listed by guarantee – the support was unanimous. We also decided to submit a Lottery Awards for All grant to support the community events role of the school hall. Lindsey and Chris were a great help and will act on our behalf with regard to both. For your diary, Chris will come next Wednesday, 11th February, to take our details for incorporation (more on this later).

Heritage Trust applies for a Roof Repair Grant

The grant application for the church roof repair was submitted on Friday 30th January to the Church Care Roof Repair Fund. Many thanks to all those who have contributed! We are keeping our fingers crossed. If we win the grant, we will have to fund raise up to £8,500 between now and July as our contribution. If you have any ideas on this, please let us know by emailing me at middletonheritage@gmail.com .

David M.

Arts & Crafts Church – Roof Repair Grant – Andy Marshall offers support

013_proc_procCelebrated architectural photographer, Andy Marshall, is offering his support for our church roof repair bid to the Church Care Roof Repair Fund. Andy invited me over to discuss the project and how he can help (and to admire his cat).

A former roofer, Andy enthused about the church roof. It is the finest Victorian vernacular stone roof in the North-West of England and probably the last of any substantial size as the nation moved to standardized Welsh slate and tile. Graduated stone roofs, like at the church, use diminishing courses. Constructing them involves great skill and they are highly efficient in the use of stone – ever smaller pieces, which otherwise would be thrown away, are gradually introduced towards the ridge of the roof.

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Photo by Alan Gardner Associates

We also discussed how Long Street Church and School encompassed ten years of Edgar Wood’s architectural development and how the last part to be built, the 1902 abstract cubic sculpture over the gateway, announced his shift to modernism. We compared it to contemporary work in Vienna, like architect Josef Hoffmann’s 1902 square relief over an entrance at the 14th Vienna Secession Exhibition . It is just one of the many stylistic connections between Wood and the Secession architects.

Andy will support us with a social media campaign and lend us a specialised time-lapse camera to record the roof repair.

David M.

All Skipped Up

IMG_0003_proc It was a great tidy-up on Saturday, where volunteers from the Edgar Wood Society had a major sort out and tidy up, filling a skip and two van loads of rubbish for disposal and metal items for recycling. Thanks to all involved.

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Locality Workshop 4 – Followed by Edgar Wood Society

We had another double bill yesterday, 15th January, when at 5pm Arts & Crafts Awakening and Locality got together to work through the draft business plan for the Arts & Crafts Church. We and Greater Manchester Building Preservation Trust are presenting it to the Edgar Wood Townscape Heritage Initiative Board on 20th January. Over the last few weeks we’ve made great strides in finding new uses, as well as putting together a restoration scheme, also with the Trust.

At 7.30pm, it was the turn of the Edgar Wood Society committee (some pictured) which ‘set to’ with a raft of ideas for 2015 from purchasing an H. D. Chorlton watercolour to the planning of this year’s events, research and practical support for the Arts & Crafts Church. Watch this space!

Edgar Wood to feature in a book on Art Nouveau

The Edgar Wood Society is liaising with Ediciones Polígrafa, a prestigious publishing house based in Barcelona specializing in books on Art, Architecture and Design, printed in English and Spanish. Here is their web site.

Ediciones Polígrafa are currently working on, The World Atlas of Art Nouveau Architecture, edited by Ivan Bercedo and Jorge Mestre. It will have specialized contributions from all over the globe. Edgar Wood buildings will be included in the United Kingdom section, including Long Street Methodist Church. We are currently helping them out with photographs of Wood’s principal buildings.

Liz McInnes MP joins Christmas Open House

Christmas2014-51_proc064_procThursday evening could not have gone better for organisers Emma and Nick of the Edgar Wood and Middleton THI team. Not only did forty to fifty people visit the candle-lit church but one of those visitors was Middleton’s MP, Liz McInnes.

Liz came to express her support for the THI project and conserving Middleton’s heritage.  It was a great boost for everyone. She was given a tour of the buildings before joining visitors at Ye Olde Boar’s Head for a concert of Christmas music by Middleton Band.

There was complementary seasonal food and drink as well as an exhibition about the heritage grants for the Edgar Wood buildings of the conservation area.

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Mackintosh Architecture Exhibition

Yesterday, 17th December, I travelled up to Glasgow to see the Mackintosh Architecture exhibition at the Hunterian Art Gallery, before it closes on 4th January 2015.

The exhibition is the result of a research project into Mackintosh’s buildings and the practice that he worked for, Honeyman and Keppie, later Honeyman, Keppie and Mackintosh. Elsewhere at the Hunterian, you can visit the internal recreation of Mackintosh’s house and see his travel sketches and paintings.

There are no new major discoveries. Instead, the exhibition tries to rebalance the myths – the doomed romantic, Scottish nationalist, pioneer modernist etc. – simply by showing his drawings and the networks of professionals and patrons in which he worked. Through this everyday evidence you see another Mackintosh emerging, a team player and an exemplary professional working for one of Glasgow’s major architectural practices.

All of the famous drawings are exhibited and what immediately surprises is how large they are, much bigger than the prints in books. You can see his immaculate draughtsmanship, by which he stood out from his contemporaries. The work of Honeyman and Keppie is also shown. They were fine architects working in the styles of the day rather than Mackintosh’s Art Nouveau. There was quite a lot of collaboration between all three designers and Mackintosh could work just as well in the traditional styles, if he needed to.

d281_015Mackintosh’s four large houses are highlighted. In these, his architectural progression is the reverse of other progressive designers, running from the almost abstract Windyhill to the highly expressive Hill House, to the Jacobean Auchinibert (featured drawing above) and finally to the vernacular Mossyde. You can see him absorbing ideas from the English Arts & Crafts movement, initially at Auchinibert, partly through the preference of the client. Mackintosh’s final house, Mossyde, shows him fully resolved as a vernacular Arts & Crafts designer – an astonishing change from Hill House of only a few years earlier. Mackintosh was an architect who could develop and embrace new ideas. It is a shame that architectural work dried up after 1910 then stopping completely in the First World War. Who knows what he may have otherwise produced?

The stripping away of the myths allows Mackintosh’s true genius to come to the fore – that of a professional architect and designer of the highest calibre who buildings inspired many of his own generation and many more in subsequent generations.

Locality Workshop 3 – Developing a Dual Approach

Our final Locality workshop, let by Lindsey and Chris, was a lively and good humoured discussion about how best to develop the potential at the Long Street School. Building on the previous two sessions, we agreed a dual approach where some of the buildings, principally the main hall, would be best used for commercial functions to generate income. However,  other parts would be best developed for community uses and activities, like an ‘urban village hall’ which could assist community engagement.  This part would also embrace the heritage centre idea. We also discussed applying for an Awards for All Scheme to get such a ‘village hall’ moving.  We retained the nursery idea as a ‘Plan B’ for the main hall.

We covered a lot of detail and how the timeframes for each might work in 2015 and 2016, and the likely timing of the conservation grant scheme.

We set a tentative date for our first meeting of 2016 as January 15th, 5-7pm.

Many thanks to all who have contributed.

Locality Workshop 2 – Getting Down To Business

The second Locality workshop was taken by Zoe Goddard on Thursday 4th December. Eight people came, the same folk as last time, so the team seems to be shaping up.

020_procIt was an excellent session where we began to ‘get down to business’ regarding what social enterprises are, how they differ from one another and how the particular type needs to fit the activities and objectives of the specific group.

We also made good progress on the possible future uses for the Long Street School buildings. We found that one use possibly has a ‘strategic fit’ with our longer term aims for Edgar Wood and Middleton Heritage.

Everyone left the meeting encouraged (and well fed!). Zoe went away to investigate further the pros and cons of our shortlist of potential uses.

The next meeting is this Thursday 11th December, 5-7pm and will be led by Lindsey. Come along and join us!

All Soul’s Bolton… Now Open

B4GXZXVCcAApueyThe Arts & Crafts Church conservation surveyor, Alan Gardner, recently attended the re-opening of the magnificent All Soul’s Church, now converted to multi-faceted community uses. Alan was responsible for the conservation of this enormous Paley and Austin church. Can you spot him in the team photo? (back row third from right).

Another, Arts & Crafts Church favourite, photographer Andy Marshall, has been commissioned to record the restored building and it’s ultra modern ‘building within a building’. See Andy’s photographs here.

Congratulations all round!