After the double tragedy of the Glasgow School of Art… some good news…
It was great to spend the first few hours of 2018 in my old Warwickshire stamping ground of north Birmingham. I just had to pull over to photograph William Bidlake’s Emmanuel Church in Wylde Green, near Erdington. It is a favourite of mine and is grade II* listed.
I’ve had an enjoyable afternoon at Hamstead Garden Suburb today, part of a private study project into the suburb and it’s buildings. The master planners were Raymond Unwin and Barry Parker, who also jointly designed Letchworth Garden City around the same time. A little later, Wythenshaw, Manchester was designed by Barry Parker. Edwin Lutyens also had a major influence on the suburb, especially in the design of the central area and the styling of many buildings.
Hampstead is the most famous of all the pioneer Garden Suburbs and its layout, buildings, gardens and planting are all intensely artistic. I especially enjoyed the synergy between the architecture and the hedges and gardens. Hampstead may have been designed a hundred years ago but its appearance is recreated every year through the activities of its gardeners.
The Town & Country Planning Association (TCPA for short) has been going ever since modern planning was invented. It was originally called the Garden City Association and has direct links to the heritage of the Arts & Crafts Movement (writ large) and the three pioneering garden cities of Letchworth (by Barry Parker & Raymond Unwin) and Welwyn Garden City (by Louis de Soissons), both in Hertfordshire, and the larger Wythenshaw (by Barry Parker) in Manchester.
I visited Briarcourt today. It’s an early Arts and Crafts Movement house at Lindley, near Huddersfield, built in 1894 for the Sykes family. The designer was Manchester’s Edgar Wood. He was related to the Sykes and consequently designed several buildings in the area, including the famous Lindley Clock Tower. Continue reading “Briarcourt – a place of hope”
Travelling back from the Lakes, it was time for my annual pilgrimage to Mackay Hugh Baillie-Scott’s Lancashire masterpiece, Blackwell near Bowness, Windermere – a truly wonderful house. Below are some of my happy snaps taken on the phone (please forgive the quality).
If you’ve never been before, Blackwell is well worth a visit… the house excels as a beautifully kept ‘walk-in art exhibit’. It is a fantasy house every bit as much as, say, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s House for an Art Lover. I am trying to learn some of the lessons of the excellent crisp presentation at Blackwell, for when I advise my colleagues on the care of Walter Brierley’s house, Hollins Hill, a.k.a. The Haworth, Accrington.
Continue reading “Blackwell – The Arts & Crafts House”