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. 

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.

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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

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.

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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”

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.

The First Church of Christ Scientist, Manchester is on the market

First Church of Christ Scientist, in Victoria Park, Manchester is on the market and is likely to have a change of use. Agents Canning O’Neill are open minded as to what that use might entail but a well aware of the outstanding significance of the building. 

It would be great to find a new sensitive use that can also conserve and restore this Edgar Wood masterpiece. For example, why not reinstate the lost Edgar Wood chimneys at the ends of the wings (see photo) and undertake historical paint analysis to restore Edgar Wood’s original internal colour scheme? Along with the Middleton and Hale designs, The First Church has the potential to put Manchester on the international art nouveau visitor trail.

‘Lutyens in Lancashire’ lecture by Richard Fletcher

Richard showing an early photo of Lutyens’ Abbey House

Richard Fletcher delivered this afternoon’s Edgar Wood Society lecture on the subject of Lutyens in Lancashire.

It was a fascinating overview of Lutyens’ designs in the county, including his Grade I listed Rochdale Cenotaph and its cousin in Manchester. Rochdale also has the adjacent Post Office (but with an uncertain attribution) while Manchester has the impressive and definitely Lutyens Midland Bank, both white Portland stone buildings. Liverpool, on the other hand, has the huge crypt of Liverpool Cathedral which is just a fragment of the vast cathedral originally planned as Lutyens’ finest building. But it never came to be, apart for the large scale model now at Liverpool Museum (photo above by Mike Peel www.mikepeel.net ). Richard’s talk brought to the fore many interesting connections and anecdotes about people and buildings and how each linked into the wider historical scene.

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On-line fund-raising to save Voysey’s Winsford Cottage Hospital

The Landmark Trust aims to raise £355,000 from the public in the next 12 months to save the Arts & Crafts Grade II* listed Winsford Cottage Hospital in Devon, which was designed by C. F. A. Voysey in his long low-lying architectural style.

The money will match a £487,000 grant offer from Heritage Lottery Fund. The trust has also received a lottery grant of £96,000 to develop the project. Full details are HERE on the trust’s website. Continue reading “On-line fund-raising to save Voysey’s Winsford Cottage Hospital”

Greystoke

It’s gratifying when owners of Edgar Wood buildings show a deep concern for the heritage under their care and this is especially true for Greystoke, a Grade II listed building in Hale, Cheshire,  which the Edgar Wood Society is currently assisting with through its chair, David Morris.

Greystoke is one of Edgar Wood’s seven Hale houses. These wonderful house designs trace Edgar’s style as it developed from vernacular inspired Arts and Crafts to the very first art deco architecture. Greystoke was built in 1902 and with nearby The Homestead represents his more expressionist arts and crafts manner.

The owner has liaised with the Edgar Wood historian and architect, John Archer, for many years and this shows in the quality of the work that has been done previously. The new works will involve restoring a series of lost features using old photographs and the society’s knowledge of related buildings and features.