Burnley Grammar School – a Landmark project

Some buildings have passion… this is one. You can feel the Gothic Revival spirit of Burnley Grammar School. It was the first design of a former pupil, William Angelo Waddington, who went onto great things in architecture. It is listed grade II but could easily be II*.

I was privileged at the end of last year to spend considerable time studying the school. I was  assisting Burnley industrialist and another former pupil, Mark Crabtree OBE, creator of digital sound engineering company, AMS Neve, and Clitheroe architect, Ivan Wilson on a visionary project to convert it to The Landmark, a high-tech/digital collaborative working hub. As a lover of steampunk, just the idea of a High Gothic building becoming a place of digital networking is pretty beguiling!

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Ordnance Survey Road maps… they’re back!

Have you been into W. H. Smiths recently? Popping into my local Blackburn branch, it was nice to see a new Ordnance Survey display, especially because it contained the regional road maps which were discontinued over seven years ago. There was also the classic route planner map for Great Britain, and specialist interest maps like Roman and Ancient Britain – all with new attractive covers and styling.

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Cannon Street Baptist Church & School, Accrington – George Baines, architect

Cannon Street Baptist Church (1874, listed grade II) is a large but compact building which shoots skyward from Accrington’s tightly drawn streetscape. Its tower and spire are set into the corner of the façade just yards from the street, which gives it great visual impact.

Altogether, it makes for an unusual Baptist Church of the 1870s, a time when the classical was still the ‘go-to’ style. Its predecessor, a Regency chapel rather like a large house, still exists on Blackburn Road adjacent the railway. It is also listed grade II and both are buildings at risk. Continue reading “Cannon Street Baptist Church & School, Accrington – George Baines, architect”

Edna Walling

International Women’s Day is nearly over but, for my contribution, I’ve still got about 25 minutes to write something about Edna Walling (1895 – 1973), a British Australian landscape gardener whose work I find especially interesting. I would also say beautiful except that, since her work is in Australia, I have only seen it in photos, plans and a book about her called, The Unusual Life of Edna Walling, by Sara Hardy.

Edna was born in Yorkshire, lived till her teens in Devon and then moved to Australia via a few years in New Zealand. She developed the ideas of Gertrude Jekyll and others in the very different climate and context of Australia. She is sometimes called Australia’s finest gardener.

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The Talbot Conference – Blackburn

This weekend’s Talbot Conference centred on the marvelous photographic archive of the late Wally Talbot and his son, Howard. The father and son partnership photographed all aspects of Blackburn life from the 1930s to the 1990s. Their combined legacy of thousands of negatives and plates has recently been donated to the town and is now being painstakingly researched, catalogued and restored by Blackburn college photographer, Peter Graham. The restored photographs are steadily being published online on Blackburn Library’s “Cotton Town” website.

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