Old Ribblesdale Hotel, Blackburn

The first grant project of the Blakey Moor Townscape Heritage Initiative, Blackburn is now well under way. The old Ribblesdale Hotel was built just after 1900 and in more recent times was known as ‘Baroque’ owing to it’s corner dome. It’s really more of a blend of Jacobean and Elizabethan features in a busy style made popular by the Victorian architect of London’s Palace Theatre, Thomas Edward Collcutt (1840-1924), who also designed Blackburn Museum not so far away.

Despite the attention of lead thieves, the roof and structural work is now largely done and we are turning to the restoration of the decorative features, elements which express a whole range of traditional building crafts. 

The two dormers are topped by panels of ornamental plaster pargetting set into the gables. This is a traditional rural craft popular in the east of England, though I have seen a surviving historic example in Lancashire. It was revived in Victorian times by the Arts & Crafts Movement.

Unfortunately, our two two panels have been crudely over-painted in gloss paint which has trapped in moisture and led to heavy deterioration of the plaster and its canvas backing.  After some consideration, we have decided to go down the restoration route, rather than attempt a repair, and Blackburn master plasterer Karl Claydon has very kindly taken on the job of producing accurate replicas at short notice.

The contract administrator is Andrew Davies of Blackburn with Darwen Council and the main contractor is Rosslee Construction of Accrington.

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”

Hanging Chads and the latest IPCC Report on Global Warming

Photo: © Copyright K A and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence.

I can still vividly remember the ‘hanging chads’ of the 2000 US Presidential election and with them the hopes of tackling Global Warming through the election Al Gore as president. Unfortunately, the chads favoured George Bush, and I felt a great sense of anguish as the opportunity to seriously tackle climate change slipped away.

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The Prince’s Trust in Blackburn

It’s a privilege to be working alongside The Prince’s Trust on a project to redecorate St. Oswald’s Community Hall, Knuzden, Blackburn. The team of volunteers comprises both young people and seasoned professionals. There is a distinctly positive air and a great enthusiasm for working through the issues and tackling the jobs from prep. to paint.

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Tweet from Municipal Dreams (@MunicipalDreams), at 4 Feb, 19:36

The Crescent, East Harling – experimental clay lump council housing of 1919-20 built for Norfolk County Council, designed by George J Skipper https://t.co/oHD7akX2Cp