Twenty members of the EWS were given a warm welcome to Briarcourt on a sunny afternoon today. The purpose of the visit was to see the progress of the work that Vicky and Duncan are making in restoring this grand house designed and built in 1895 by EW for his cousin Herbert Higginson Sykes, a wedding present from the Sykes family. This gave EW his first opportunity to build in Huddersfield.
The house is in the style of a Yorkshire Jacobean manor. It is imposing externally, with its fine porch, deep bay windows and multiple gables. Internally, stained glass, decorative plaster work and painted a frieze in the morning room by Middleton artist Frederick Jackson. The frieze has been recently restored and one of the main reasons for the visit. A big thank you to Vicky and Duncan for the privilege of viewing their progress so far and their warm welcome.
The borders in the garden at the EW Centre had become somewhat overgrown and untidy. What better to do on a mild sunny day in February, than to get stuck in and sort them out for the seasonal growth ahead.
Starting on June 8, the 150th anniversary of Wright’s birth, the newly formed Buffalo Arts & Crafts Alliance will launch a four-month celebration of Wright’s work and Buffalo’s undersung role in the Arts & Crafts Movement.
Jonathan Katz, one of the alliance’s co-founders and organizer of the celebration, said it is an attempt to remind people about Buffalo’s central place in the legacy of American architecture and design and to reclaim its history as an incubator for one of the most important and wide-reaching aesthetic movements in American history.
It has taken Ken Winters (top right) 15 years to achieve his goal of getting the Lindley Clock Tower illuminated. His ambition was realised at 5.30pm today as he and local Councillors activated the flood lighting. Representatives from the Edgar Wood Society (Middleton) attended giving support to their Yorkshire ‘cousins’.
James Sykes, Edgar Wood’s uncle commissioned EW to design the tower, which is some 83 feet tall with walls 2 feet thick and of local stone. Completed in 1902 with sculptures by Stirling Lee. More of Stirling Lee’s work can be seen in the Arts and Craft Church (Long Street Methodist) birth place of Edgar Wood and his ‘masterpiece’ in Middleton.
A new website has just been launched highlighting West London’s Arts and Crafts heritage. The site is part of a £1 million Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) supported project that explains the Arts & Crafts Movement and how artists and craftsmen were drawn to Hammersmith because of two people – William Morris and Sir Emery Walker. The website coincides with the renovation of the William Morris Society’s building at 26 Upper Mall and Emery Walker’s residence at 7 Hammersmith Terrace.
The Middleton Heritage Film Group have submitted a plan for a new film on the life and influence of Edgar Wood to the Heritage Lottery Fund. If the bid for funding is successful, the film will be shot in 2017.
Students from the University of Salford (School of Built Environment) under the supervision of the Program Director of Building Survey, Simon Mclean, return for a more in depth look at the rooms in the ‘community wing’. There was speculation as to the reasons for the cracks in the brickwork starting at high level and extending into the under croft.
Their survey reports for coursework will be submitted in December. I look forward with interest to read their conclusions.
Twenty plus, second year students from the University of Salford, School of Built Environment, under the charge of Simon Mclean (Program Director of Building Surveying) came to survey the school rooms and learn of the issues related to conservation. Reports will be written and submitted for their course assessment. It will be interesting to read their suggestions and ideas for the proposed improvements to prevent water ingress, the heating and the necessary services.
This is the second time that the University has used the Centre for part for their training program. Some ‘high tech’ gizmos were used, the two meters in the photograph were first being checked that they showed the same calibration. Not only did they give a moisture content readings, but also a core temperature and thermal image.
The Arts & Crafts Movement in Surrey group (26 members), arrived in Manchester on Monday for their annual trip. They spent this morning visiting Edgar Wood’s master piece in Middleton – Long St. Methodist Church and Schools.
This was followed by a walk around the conservation area looking at Wood’s houses and finally calling in at St. Leonards, with particular interest in the stained glass by Christopher Whall, but could not fail to be impressed by the rest of the Church.
The majority of the group did not know the name Edgar Wood, but after seeing and listening to Christine and Nick, they soon could put EW in context with Voysey, Mackintosh and the rest. With Nick’s knowledge base and his enthusiasm, he left them in no doubt about the importance EW’s work and influence. As Nick had to leave early, the group asked me to thank him and give him a round of applause.
Their itinerary for tomorrow includes visiting EW’s Church of the First Christian Scientists in Victoria Park, Manchester. We wish them well for the remainder of their visit.
The exhibition created and researched by Nick Baker and Richard Fletcher has at last been reproduced on permanent display boards and was arranged today by Ian with the help of Christine and Kirstie. Kirstie by profession is a Graphics Designer and we are grateful for the work she has done in creating the excellent visual impact of the boards. We are fortunate to have Kirstie on the committee team. You must come and have a look, we are open tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday as well as Tuesday and Friday throughout September.
Angela and Barry Corbertt, archivists and experts of the Pilkington Society got our Autumn program of talks off to a flying start in the lecture room of the Edgar Wood Centre. They gave a fascinating account of this famous firm that created many of the most beautiful tiles and pottery of the Arts and Craft period. Members of the society brought along some of their Pilkington pottery for Barry and Angela to comment on.
The vase shown was made in 1931 and designed by William Mycroft, one of the firms longest serving designers.
We look forward to continuing our association with the Pilkington Society and a thank you to Angela and Barry for their talk.
The Rev.John Simpson was ordained and moved to the Bahamas and then to Western Australia to take up a post as a young priest. While there he became a close friend of the Brierley family, formally of Rochdale, who had been closely involved in the setting up of the Co-op Movement. B.C.Brierley was a personal friend of the young architect, Edgar Wood, who designed and built Barcroft (Marland, Rochdale) for him.
John was responsible for returning the Brierley family artefacts back to their original homeland in the hope of finding some interested associations in Rochdale. 769 lots of memorabilia went under the hammer at Capes Dunn in 2015 of which several items were purchased by EWS members. This year John has made a personal visit to the UK and EWS member and owner of Barcroft, Georgina, was keen to show him the EW properties in Middleton, especially Long Street and invitations were also accepted by the Mayor (Councillor Ray Dutton) and the Mayoress , Councillor Jim Gartside and his wife Jane a former councillor, were part of a large party attending.