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

Continue reading “Building the future on a great heritage”

Pendle Hill and Barley Vaccary

My son took this shot of me photographing the view over the parish of Barley from Pendle Hill… perhaps as a poke at my header image! 

There is a structure to the fields of Barley parish which was created by the medieval Barley vaccary, established here in the mid-1200s. I have been studying the vaccaries of the Pendle, Accrington, Rossendale and Trawden medieval  forests with David J. A. Taylor for over a decade, supported by the Pendle Heritage Centre archaeology group. The development of the landscape of these areas is quite fascinating and the rural landscapes are a lot older than most people imagine. Continue reading “Pendle Hill and Barley Vaccary”

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”

Briarcourt – a place of hope

I visited Briarcourt today. It’s an early Arts and Crafts Movement house at Lindley, near Huddersfield, built in 1894 for the Sykes family. The designer was Manchester’s Edgar Wood. He was related to the Sykes and consequently designed several buildings in the area, including the famous Lindley Clock Tower. Continue reading “Briarcourt – a place of hope”