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, Restoration

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

‘Conserving a Great Building, Upping your game’ 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.

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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!


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*.

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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

Edgar Wood Centre, Manchester

This must be my favourite project at the moment, Edgar Wood’s First Church of Christ Scientist of 1903 (grade I listed), the most original church of the Arts & Crafts Movement and perhaps the first example of Expressionist architecture in Europe. Now the Edgar Wood Centre, it is being restored as an events venue.

Cannon Street Baptist Church & School, Accrington – George Baines, architect

Cannon Street Baptist Church (1874, listed grade II) is a large but compact building which shoots skyward from Accrington’s tightly drawn streetscape. Its tower and spire are set into the corner of the façade just yards from the street, which gives it great visual impact.

Altogether, it makes for an unusual Baptist Church of the 1870s, a time when the classical was still the ‘go-to’ style. Its predecessor, a Regency chapel rather like a large house, still exists on Blackburn Road adjacent the railway. It is also listed grade II and both are buildings at risk. Continue reading “Cannon Street Baptist Church & School, Accrington – George Baines, architect”