Accrington THI – first shop restoration on site

Today, Accrington Townscape Heritage Initiative began conserving the town’s historic shops. This shop on Blackburn Road was built as a printers a few years after 1900 and now houses AYA, a firm of accountants.

As seen in the old photo, there was originally a sunblind which pulled out from behind the shop sign. The sign was rounded to accommodate the roller and the result cleverly emulates a classical pulvinated or ‘cushion’ frieze.

When the modern box sign was removed, we were delighted to find the timber frieze was still intact. It is beautifully joined to stone cushion friezes atop the pilasters at each end of the shop.

We exposed Edwardian paint layers which will be sampled before overpainting. By doing so on each THI project, we can build up a record of the various historic colours used on Accrington shops. The stone pilasters were overpainted brown followed by red and other colours. However, we could see smoke blackening beneath the brown paint indicating that the stone was not originally painted. We will therefore clean back to restore the original stone surface using Torc equipment.

Unfortunately, the underside of the cornice has almost completely eroded but there is just enough of the original moulding to create a template for new stone indents.

Other work includes further stone repair and a traditional styled replacement shop front.

The contract administrator is Craig Buck, IDC Architects, and the contractor is Rosslee Construction. Both are local Accrington firms.

IHBC NW 2018 AGM – Middleton, Manchester

Yesterday (15th November), Greater Manchester Building Preservation Trust hosted the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) NW annual general meeting at Long Street Methodist, the Arts & Crafts Church of Middleton, Manchester. This has recently been restored via a generous Heritage Lottery Fund grant. Project architect, Lisa Mcfarlane of Seven Architecture, and myself led the afternoon event and there was a large turnout of around 40 members. We began with a talk about, Edgar Wood, the Arts & Crafts modernist who built the church in 1899, followed by a tour of the famous Middleton Golden Cluster of heritage buildings. Continue reading “IHBC NW 2018 AGM – Middleton, Manchester”

Conserving a Great Building II – Restoration

The Library at the Glasgow School of Art before the devastating fires. Photo: David Morris

‘Conserving a Great Building I’ is here.

Adding new design work to a historical building is an act of ‘creation’ whereas restoring lost features is generally considered as ‘conservation’. After a terrible disaster like a major fire, the choice between new design and restoration inevitably comes up. David Mullane, a former director of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, argued that the burnt out library of the Glasgow School of Art should be rebuilt in a new way by a contemporary architect rather than be restored.

Continue reading “Conserving a Great Building II – Restoration”

Beauty of Brutalism

Brutalism – I have always loved this type of architecture for its combination of social progressiveness, abstract form, toned down colours and weighty monumentalism. It’s sad how so many great works have been destroyed. At least Preston still has its bus station!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/1CPtMYghnVMJVv1YphFrWDc/the-brutalist-divide-concrete-monsters-or-architectural-icons

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*.

Continue reading “Burnley Grammar School – a Landmark project”

Restoring Long Street Methodist Sunday School, Middleton, Manchester

I’m so pleased this project is on site after so many years of preparation. My job today is to begin colour sampling the interiors to guide the redecoration. Long Street Methodist Church and Sunday School are perhaps the first masterpiece by the Arts & Crafts architect, Edgar Wood (grade II* listed). You can follow the project on artsandcraftschurch.org