Former Lomax Arms P.H. in Great Harwood

The scheme to convert the old Lomax Arms pub in Great Harwood to apartments is now quite advanced. The historical render was removed many decades ago, so we are having it put back. The render helps to keep the walls weather tight as well as setting off the Regency style architectural features.

Elmfield Hall & Churchfield House – old houses, new roles

Two enjoyable projects currently on the go involve large Victorian houses, Elmfield Hall, Church and Churchfield House, Great Harwood.

Though quite unrelated as buildings and projects, successive meetings today reminded me of their close similarities. Both are the former houses of locally important Victorians, which subsequently passed into the hands of the pre-1974 local authorities, then to Hyndburn Council and now to social enterprises which provide community related services. Both draw upon a common set of funding sources and both have a cafe! Continue reading “Elmfield Hall & Churchfield House – old houses, new roles”

Colin Gilbert – video

Caspar David Friedrich’s painting Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (see this post) reminds me of the work of a late colleague, Colin Gilbert, a Manchester artist with a passion for heritage. Colin also liked to add figures observing the scenes of his paintings. In this picture (click to enlarge), he was responding to a location in the Middleton conservation area… a view from Durnford Street, just behind Ye Olde Boar’s Head pub, with Jubilee Library and St. Leonard’s Church beyond. The intense colours and his manipulation of scale and perspective expresses the hidden power and significance of that particular place. Continue reading “Colin Gilbert – video”

Dunham Massey

I have visited Dunham Massey in Cheshire over many years and have observed how it has grown into a lively modern visitor destination, with the National Trust undertaking a phased programme of conservation and development for well over a decade.

I have to be honest, the hall is good but unadventurous, architecturally speaking. There have been three historical halls since the 1600s. They have been spectacularly painted in a series of bird’s eye view illustrations and the best of the three was perhaps the 1690s hall. This, as far as I can tell, was a courtyard design replete with Dutch gables, corner towers, huge leaded light windows and other Elizabethan and Jacobean features. It seems to have been a lively building with several phases. It was unfortunately replaced, or perhaps encased, in the 1730s by a very plain brick building designed by John Norris, a largely unknown architect. It was a very conservative and dated design but it at least it had the typical Georgian qualities of efficiency, harmony and balance.

The main façade and interior, however, was completely reworked in Edwardian times by Joseph Compton Hall, another unknown designer, into something even less interesting! I can see that he was trying to  introduce some warmth and interest but, to be honest, it was probably better before altered it. The eaves and dormers either side of his odd Carolinian style focal point are too domestic for such a large building. Consequently,  Dunham has nothing to match the dramatic Palladianism of nearby Lyme Park. What there is, however, is beautiful workmanship in a lovely orange Cheshire brick and, most importantly, a gorgeous der park setting. Continue reading “Dunham Massey”

Manchester Making the Modern City

Every town and city has its story, but few have a history that is essential to understanding how the modern world was made. Manchester was the first industrial city and arguably the first modern city. 

I have been enjoying this new book (edited by Alan Kidd and Terry Wyke), having got a complementary copy for contributing a photograph. It is a critical history of Manchester and how it developed into an international city. It covers the social, political and industrial history rather than the architecture but has lots of background information for significance and conservation reports, including a very useful historical timeline.

Details are HERE.