Sunset walk up Great Hameldon

My son and I had a bracing sunset walk up Great Hameldon just now. It’s good to get out in the fresh air, hear the larks and enjoy the sweeping views. From the top we could see parts of Blackburn, Hyndburn, Pendle, Burnley and Rochdale – five Boroughs I have worked for. The sea at Blackpool was a bright silver line with the tower just poking up on the horizon. To the north we could see the Bowland Hills, Pendle Hill and parts the Yorkshire Dales. Wonderful.

Venus was big and bright tonight

You can just about see the Venus bands of cloud (if you use your imagination!).

I took a shot with my cheap pastic Pentax 55-300mm zoom lens, the same one I used for the moon in the previous post. It was just a bit of fun but I was surprised at what it was able to produce. I normally use this lens for recording roof and ceiling details. It’s not really suitable for moon and planet photography and I had to enlarge and crop the image enormously. I wonder how much better a very long focal length high quality lens would be.

Austin Grady Retires

Photograph: John Miller (Director HTNW), Peter Taylor (Friends of Bank Hall, Chorley), Austin Grady and David Parfitt (CSNW).

Austin Grady, who has headed up Conservation Services North West (CSNW) for the last ten years, has finally decided the attractions of retirement can no longer be ignored!

Austin has led several important conservation projects in his time at CSNW, including the heroic saving of Tonge Hall, Middleton (listed grade II*) after a devastating fire which left it in a critically unstable condition.

Tonge Hall repair works 2015

Working alongside surveyor Alan Gardner, and operating from a cherry picker, Austin skilfully deconstructed the tangled and dangerous mess of the half-collapsed timber frame hall. He carefully logged and stored the constituent parts before carrying out exemplary carpentry repairs to the main structure, leaving the stabilised building protected by a scaffold cage.
Other notable projects include the restoration of the derelict former King’s Head PH, Blackburn (grade II listed), another building on the point of collapse, and the repair and conservation of Lomeshaye Bridge Mill in Whitefield Conservation Area, Nelson, Bank Hall, Bretherton (listed grade II*) and Lytham Hall (listed grade I).

Former King’s Head PH, Blackburn

Conservation Services NW, which is the building arm of Heritage Trust for the NW (HTNW), will greatly miss Austin’s conservation skills, commitment and all round professionalism. We wish him a great retirement!

Durham’s ‘pitman’s parliament’, a monument of industrial heritage, saved from ruin

Durham’s ‘pitman’s parliament’, a monument of industrial heritage, saved from ruin

Header photo: Stan Adie

New Edgar Wood and Arts & Crafts Movement Website

Over the last twelve months I have been working with architectural photographer Andy Marshall, website creator Anna Morris of Gingerling Design and project administrator, Maureen Glynn building a website for the Edgar Wood Society, after we made a successful Lottery Heritage Fund bid in late 2018.

Our aim is to build an online resource about Manchester’s finest Arts & Crafts architect and the work of the Northern Art Workers Guild which he founded. It’s early days but we now have the online infrastructure in place including the beginnings of an image compendium which Andy and Anna have created.

You can see the website here…

Old Map of Huncoat

A Hyndburn Councillor brought in an enormous old land map of Huncoat near Accrington today. It was so big we had to lay it on the floor, to great hilarity.

We plan to copy it in sections and digitally stitch them together. It will form part of the background to the Huncoat Garden Village proposal.

Huncoat is Hyndburn’s oldest settlement and is recorded in the Domesday Book.

Kimberley Hall, Combs, Suffolk

It’s nice, now and again, to engage and assist with historic buildings somewhere away from home, in my case outside of the North-West. Kimberley Hall is a moated hall and farmstead in mid Suffolk.
The site has a wonderful old world charm encouraged by the sensitive management of the historic fabric. The approach is firmly ‘minimum intervention’, something seen less often these days. I particularly like the way some surfaces are simply left rather than repaired or restored (see below). Some of the surfaces haven’t changed in over a century and you are taken back to when the buildings were part of the farmed landscape.
Kimberley Hall is the home of a surveyor and a potter and their joint appreciation and care of the of the buildings has done much to conserve a time-worn aesthetic. The smaller of the two Suffolk barns, being derelict, was restored to a holiday cottage. See…
It’s a good place to stay if you are visiting the area.

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