John Lewis Mosaics – Milton Keynes

I was lured here, siren like, by an un-purchased eBay postcard – which precipitated a virtual four colour process printed journey around the shopping precincts of the UK.

MK b copy

It only seemed appropriate to finally arrive at MK Central in real life, by train from Stockport – walking at last wide-eyed and expectant, along the whole length and width of Midsummer Boulevard to centre:mk

The Milton Keynes Development Corporation began work on the Shopping Building in 1973. It was to be the largest building of Central Milton Keynes. It had a total length of over one kilometre and a maximum width of one hundred and sixteen metres . It was built at the highest point in the New City. The architects were Derek Walker, Stuart Mosscrop, and Christopher Woodward, who had been significant architects at the MK Development Corporation; and the engineers were Felix Samuely and Partners. The shopping area was opened on 25th September 1979 by Margaret Thatcher. The building’s sleek envelope accommodated one hundred and thirty shops and six department stores, arranged along two parallel day-lit arcades, each eight hundred meters long and planted with sub-tropical and temperate trees.

A big bad Miesian box of glass and steel that goes on forever and forever.

At the very far end of forever is the John Lewis store, to the right of the entrance there are a series of tiled panels – these are possibly the work of Lucienne and Robin Day

Way back when, when brown was the new brown, brown still is the new brown.

Fresh and crisp and even.

Bobbing up and down precipitously on low marble walls, from amongst the sub-tropical and temperate trees, I bring you these thirteen tiled panels.

P1260155

P1260155a

P1260155b

P1260155c

P1260155d

P1260155e

P1260155f

P1260155g

P1260155h

P1260155i

P1260155j

 

P1260169k copy

P1260155m

Working so close up and personal at altitude, photographing such large pieces in confined spaces, it’s not until you arrive home that you discover that together they spell:

john

lewis

What a delightful surprise!

52 Wellington Road North – Stockport

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 07.25.27

Commercial premises or showroom. Dated 1889. Red brick with stone dressings and terracotta decorative details, tiled roof. Rectangular building of 4 x 3 bays with canted corner entrance. Jacobean style. Single storey articulated by pilasters supporting a sculptured frieze. Doorway with arched head and fanlight. One, two and three-light mullion and transom windows to the Parsonage Street front. The Wellington Road front has two large plateglass windows divided by paired pilasters. The windows have removed two pilasters. Cornice, panelled parapet, aedicule with console supporters, swan – neck pediment and date over the doorway. Tall hipped roof. Very prominently sited and under restoration at the time of inspection.

Grade: II listed: 23rd March 1987 – Historic England

20384

 

35147

35148

Stockport Image Archive

This is a building of some substance, decorated with terracotta work of the highest order, a striking yet diminutive landmark to the north of the town. Situated on a once busy commercial site, where it would have been surrounded by a plethora of retail, industrial and residential property.

My research has shown that its earliest recorded use was under the ownership of JE Jones manufacturing agent for ropes and cords, allied to the local hatting and cotton trades in 1907. Subsequently the base of John Roberts in 1910 – leather merchant, manufacturing  belts, strapping and laces – the company also had premises nearby at 138 Heaton Lane.

It has latterly been in use as Topp’s Tiles, Gordon Ford and Little Amigos Discount Nursery Store – it is currently empty, shuttered and unloved on off at a rent of £1,833 per calendar month from Rightmove.

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 08.03.22

As Stockport continues to invest in and develop its town centre, it remains a more than somewhat sorry beacon of decline, an indicator that all to often architecture of local and historic importance, seems to have little or no use in this thrusting modern milieu.

If passing, pause and reflect on the sense of permanence that imbues this building, in an all too impermanent world.

P1210198

P1210199

P1210200

P1210201

P1210202

P1210203

P1210204

P1210205

P1210206

P1210208

P1210209

P1210210

P1210211

P1210212

P1210215

P1210216

P1210217

P1210218

P1210220

P1210221

London Road Fire Station – Manchester

London Road Fire Station is a former fire station in Manchester, England. It was opened in 1906, on a site bounded by London Road, Whitworth Street, Minshull Street South and Fairfield Street. Designed in the Edwardian Baroque style by Woodhouse, Willoughby and Langham in red brick and terracotta, it cost £142,000 to build and was built by J. Gerrard and Sons of Swinton. It has been a Grade II* listed building since 1974.

Wikipedia

webmedia-1.php

1906

1906a

1938

1940

Manchester Local Image Collection

Despite its listing and prominence, opposite the rear corner of Piccadilly Station, this honeyed and red ochre delight has suffered nought but the indignity of abandonment since its closure in 1986, changing hands as quickly and venally as a worn deck of cards

The finest fire station in this round world stands empty.

 

P1230330

P1230334

P1230335

P1230336

P1230337

P1230338

P1230339

P1230340

P1230342

P1230343

P1230348

P1230349

P1230405

P1230407

P1230408

P1230409

P1230410

P1230412

P1230416

P1230418

P1230422

P1230424

 

St George’s Shopping Centre – Preston

Once upon a time the future was shop-shaped and utopian, the Modernist reliefs a welcome relief from post-war doom and gloom, public decorative art was off the ration for good, or so it seemed. Small retail units, housed small local operators, their shiny well-washed fascias, glowing with graphic pride and diversity, slab serif and decorative script the order of the day.

3980715134_6a6b11d851_b

3979957693_ec982cb9df_b

Architects J Seymour Harris and Partners envisaged a brave new water-coloured open-aired world for the grey austerity-tinted folk of Preston.

And lo it came to pass and underpass – the future was here yesterday.

6192877707_f74e4f81e4_b

 

Screen Shot 2018-03-10 at 11.13.00

Get off the bus on Fishergate and walk right on in.

8237842239_9856d0e5ba_b

8238909940_7f8e26076c_b

The shopping centre opened on 22 March 1966 as St George’s Shopping Centre.

5188241241_7bcb2f73fc_b

16917731869_2fc59ece6c_b

17103936575_711f3fab1b_b

PHSIH0105-Rooftop-view-of-St-Georges-Shopping-Centre-Preston-1971-630x596

PHSNA0024-Guild-Morris-Dancers-in-St-Georges-Shopping-Centre-Preston-1972-630x420

screen-shot-2018-03-10-at-11-14-58.png

Screen Shot 2018-03-10 at 11.16.47

It was originally an open air centre, and was roofed over during refurbishment in 1981. It was further refurbished in 1999.

In May 2004, when The Mall Company took over the centre, they were greeted with an ageing shopping centre. The shopping centre was rebranded as The Mall, and a massive development scheme was planned. Small stalls, main shops, cafes, restaurants, toilets, and escalators were overhauled.

In March 2010, the shopping centre was acquired by Aviva Investors for £87 million. In September 2010, The Mall was rebranded under its original name St George’s Shopping Centre.

Wikipedia

6798942417_8f495eefe8_b

So welcome back to today – stripped of distinctive decoration, covered in and given the international sheen of absolutely nowhere at all.

In intemperate template for the future.

CR_SC_4697_St_Georges_Shopping_Centre_Preston_picture_1_p8_1800x1440

Archival images from the Preston Digital Archive and Peter Reed.

 

Northmoor Road Co-op – Manchester

Cooperative Society shops and meeting hall. Dated 1912; altered. Red brick with liberal dressings of green and buff glazed terracotta, red tiled roof with geometrical patterned band and cockscomb ridge tiles. Rectangular plan. Edwardian Baroque style. Two storeys and attic, 11 bays; projected ground floor with dark green Ionic pilasters between the shops and a central recessed porch with dark green surround, light green Ionic columns and segmental open pediment ; inverted voluted brackets linking ground floor pilasters to alternate pedestals of 1st-floor colonnade, which has Ionic semi-columns with festoons and a thin cornice, all in matching light green terracotta; swagged frieze of buff terracotta with buff modillions to a green cornice; brick parapet with buff terracotta balustrades and triangular dormers in alternate bays, interrupted in the centre by a green segmental pediment with raised lettering “Beswick Cooperative Society LTD”. Tall segmental-headed windows at 1st floor including a canted bay in the centre with parapet lettered “Built AD 1912”, and coupled windows in the 2nd, 3rd, 10th and 11th bays, all with elaborate surrounds of buff terracotta including quoined jambs, moulded transoms and enriched keystones; and stained glass in the upper lights. Square Baroque-style turret at left gable.

Grade II Listed

The building itself was originally designed for commercial use with a department store on the ground floor boasting five departments including a butchers, shoes and boots, a drapery and a grocery. On the first floor there was a meeting room that was large enough to host dances with live music. Its inaugural event was an exhibition by the Co-operative Workers Society that also included a recital by the C.W.S. orchestra of Balloon Street; it was reported to have been a great success. It was also used for community events such as the Crowcroft Bowls Club prize-giving ceremony in 1914.

Northmoor Road was called North Road at the time the building was in use as a co-operative and was developed between 1899 and 1930’s. Its most famous resident was J.R.Tolkien who lived here between 1926 and 1947.

North moor Community Association

1965

1965 Manchester Local Image Collection

Northmoor Rd copy

Now home to Great Places Housing

This is such a substantial building exuding an opulent retail grandeur that easily leaves your local Tesco Local in the deep dark ignominious shade. From a time when the expanding Cooperative movement provide for most of the areas material needs – though the Beswick Society was disliked for its aggressive territorial ingress, outside of any recognised geographic constriction.

Externally it is still substantially as was – clearly visible from the nearby Stockport Road and continuing to command the street with degree of grace.

Go take a walk, take a look!

DSC_0019 copy

northmoor d copy

P1200038

P1200039

P1200040

P1200041

P1200042

P1200044

P1200045

P1200046

P1200047

P1200048

P1200049

P1200050

P1200052

P1200053

P1200054

P1200055

P1200056