Conserving a Great Building, Upping your game

At some point, a conservation planner, architect or other practitioner is responsible for conserving a truly great building, whether it be of polite, vernacular or technological architecture. In my experience, preserving something of genius, perhaps by a famous architect, is very different to run-of-the-mill conservation. It doesn’t happen every day, so here are a few thoughts gathered from my own experiences of working with greatness.

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St. Oswald’s of Oswaldtwistle

The last day of 2017 and here is a lovely shot of a rather green St. Oswald’s Church in Knuzden Brook village, Oswaldtwistle. The 1870s Victorian church is located near an ancient salt-way where King Oswald of Northumbria and his army passed on their way to the nearby Roman road from Ribchester. It was the route south which eventually took them to Oswestry, Shropshire and the fateful Battle of Maserfield of 642.

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Tain and Easter Ross

I’ve been staying near the coastal town of Tain in Easter Ross of the Scottish Highlands.

The Old Manse B&B, Logie Easter, Kildary is a lovely rendered house with an irregular layout that doesn’t quite fit its Georgian date. I later discovered it had been altered twice by Andrew Maitland, the Tain architect who established a local architectural dynasty in Victorian and Edwardian times. Inside there is a wonderful staircase balustrade rising through three storeys, probably from the 1854 changes.

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Recent work…

I’ve had the good fortune to be involved in some exciting and enjoyable projects lately.

The first was taking on the post of heritage and conservation officer for Growth Lancashire, an economic development company supporting businesses across the county. Experiencing the direct approach of business development when your life is filled with nuanced understatement about architectural heritage is refreshing. Developing conservation approaches in this new environment will be very interesting.

Haworth Art Gallery – Tiffany Glass Collection

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Hampstead Garden Suburb

St. Jude’s Church in the central area designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

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.

Corringham Road

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.

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Littleborough Conservation Area

Today was especially enjoyable as I accompanied members of Littleborough Civic Trust around their town centre sharing ideas and knowledge about history and architecture and how best to revitalise the conservation area which was designated in 1977 and extended in 2011.

Historically, Littleborough was part of the Hundersfield township in the parish of Rochdale, Lancashire. It became Littleborough Urban District in late Victorian times and today it is one of the towns of Rochdale Metropolitan Borough in Greater Manchester.

Rochdale was an enormous parish and Hundersfield one of four rural townships, each as large as a parish. In Georgian times Hundersfield’s hilly landscape had farms, water powered spinning mills and weavers cottages but there was no town. It had a reputation for being one of the most picturesque routes over the Pennines. With the coming of steam and the railways, its population condensed into two new towns, Todmorden in the north and Littleborough in the south. Continue reading “Littleborough Conservation Area”

Building the future on a great heritage

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.

Alkrington Garden Village was designed by Thomas Adams of the Garden City Association and Letchworth Garden City. The semi-detached houses were designed by Arts & Crafts architect Edgar Wood. Photo. David Morris

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