Is it a book is it a show?
It’s both – well it was a show and it’s still a book.
I went along and looked at the art and looked at the people looking at the art.
Is it a book is it a show?
It’s both – well it was a show and it’s still a book.
I went along and looked at the art and looked at the people looking at the art.
We begin on the Crescent – taking in the former AUEW Building.
It became part of Salford University’s estate, renamed the Faraday Building.
It is currently unoccupied.
The University’s Masterplan is shifting emphasis to the Peel Park and Media City sites.
Also leaving Crescent House in limbo.
The original master plan would have swept away the Victorian Technical Institute and Salford Art Gallery.
Across the road are the Maxwell Buildings.
They were built between 1959 and 1960 to a design by the architect C H Simmons of the Lancashire County Architects Department.
The interior decorative order of Sixties’ institutions was integral to the architectural design, sadly this is no longer so.
Which may be the subject of ambitious redevelopment.
Take a turn around the corner to the Cockcroft Building.
These incised stone panels obscured by plants.
To the left is the Clifford Whitworth Library – this is the original architectural impression – signed Peter Sainsbury.
The original fascia was tile clad.
Subsequently replaced by uPVC boards.
Yet again the original interior was integral too the architectural scheme and period.
It was designed by WF Johnson and Partners of Leamington Spa, as a lecture theatre block and gallery. It sits with its long axis running parallel to the railway behind. The series of grey volumes, occasionally punctuated by colourful floods of red and green trailing ivy, hang together in a less than convincing composition. The orientation and access to the building seem confused and detached from any cohesive relationship to the rest of the campus, but there is something perversely attractive about the right essay in the wrong language. The reinforced concrete building contained five lecture theatres, communal spaces, an art gallery, AV support areas and basement plant rooms. Following a major refurbishment in 2012, several additions were made to the exterior and its total concrete presence somewhat diminished. It still houses lecture theatres and a number of other learning and social spaces.
A ways down the road the former Salford Technical College.
Now the part of the University of Salford, this grouping is probably the most significant work by Halliday Meecham during this period. The blocks wrap to almost enclose a courtyard and they step up in height towards the rear of the site. To the front is a lecture theatre block in dark brick. The multi-storey elements are straightforward in their construction and appearance and have had their glazing replaced. Perhaps the richest elements here are the three totemic structures by artist William Mitchell, which were listed at Grade II in 2011. Mitchell was actively engaged with the experiments of the Cement and Concrete Associations during the 1960s and produced a wide variety of works for public and private clients; other works regionally include the majority of the external art and friezes at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral and the Humanities Building at Manchester University. These textured concrete monoliths appear to have an abstract representation of Mayan patterns and carry applied mosaic. They were made on site using polyurethane moulds. There is another Mitchell work hidden behind plasterboard in the inside of the building.
Subsequently assimilated into the University.
Just down the way The Woolpack is no more.
April 1965 saw the Salford City Reporter proudly boast in an article that
The Ellor Street dream begins to come true – complete with interviews with residents of the newly constructed Walter Greenwood, Eddie Colman and John Lester Courts all which towered some 120 feet above the Hanky Park skyline.
These particular blocks of flats were of special significance because their completion was the end of the first stage of the Ellor Street redevelopment scheme which was to provide 3,000 new homes, the £10 million pound Salford Shopping Precinct and a new civic centre – which never got built – making this A Salford of the Space Age.
The tower blocks are now clad and the site a construction base for cladders.
Full details of Salford’s complex and extensive redevelopment can be found here at Tower Block.
Walter Greenwood Court was demolished in 2000/2001, whilst Eddie Colman and John Lester Court are now student accomodation for the nearby Salford University.
Onwards and underwards towards Salford Shopping City.
The architectural core of the site has been retained, including the 23 storey Briar Court residential tower.
Tucked in behind is Mother of God and St James RC Church.
Clearances took place from the middle of the twentieth century and new high-rise housing blocks were built, as well as a shopping centre.
There was a Catholic presence in the area from 1854, when schools were built. What was described in The Tablet as a beautiful church, an Early English Gothic design by M. Tijou – presumably Herbert Tijou, architect of the chapel to Loreto College, Manchester, was opened by Cardinal Manning, Archbishop of Westminster in 1875.
One hundred years later this church was demolished and replaced by the present building.
The architects were Desmond Williams & Associates, the design bearing some similarity to their St Sebastian, Salford. In 2010 the church of All Souls, Weaste, was closed, and the marble sanctuary furnishings brought to the church.
All orientations given are liturgical. The church is steel framed with brick walls and a monopitch roof (originally covered with copper, now with felt). Bold brick forms create a presence, and the design is somewhat defensive, with few windows. The building is entered from a lower porch which forms a narthex. The slope of the roof and the stepped clerestory lighting create a striking impression inside, and full-height windows towards the east end incorporate stained glass figures said to have originated in the previous church. Marble sanctuary furnishings are presumably those from the church in Weaste and appear to be of later twentieth century date, while the font is of traditional type with a clustered stem and may have come from the earlier church.
This is an area which has seen a succession of clearances, redevelopment and shifts in demographics during a relatively short and intense period of change.
That process of change continues to hastily unfold.
Wilson Patten street Warrington Cheshire WA1
A forgotten part of Warrington town centre could be turned into plush new affordable flats.
Developers are looking to put an eight-storey apartment block off Wilson Patten Street close to the former BT telephone exchange building – described in the planning application as an:
ugly concrete monolith
It would be home to a mix of forty one, two and three bed flats on the spare land which is currently used as a car park.
Typically the architecture of Twentieth Century infrastructure is reviled and ridiculed – simply swept away by contemporary, anonymous design and construction.
At least in this instance the developers intend to retain the ugly concrete monolith.
For me it is an essay in confident construction and decoration, the marriage of 1955’s brick utilitarianism, with a later concrete structure.
Poised on massive grey piloti, rising elegantly above the town.
Adorned with a simple articulation of surface.
Holderness Rd Hull HU8 8JU
At the entrance to the park on Holderness Road are eight concrete walls.
They are covered in square, cast concrete modular panels.
Said to be the work of the City Architect in 1964.
Municipal Dreams lists the City Architect at that time to be JV Wall, having replaced David Jenkin in that same year.
My money’s on Wall – well it makes sense don’t it?
I had taken the bus from Hull Interchange on a chill April morning.
The driver obligingly giving me a shout at the appropriate stop – right outside the gates.
They are not universally loved:
A further testament to the concrete pourer’s art is to be found adorning the entrance to East Park. They are so horrible that I could find nothing on the net to indicate who designed them, shame is a powerful motive for reticence. So here they stand to welcome the visitor; after this the actual park couldn’t be any worse.
I can only assume that the actual park is held in much higher regard, listed and adored by all.
To my mind they are a bold addition to the park’s entrance, very much of their time, yet at the same time, ever so very now!
The has been a gentle patination to the raw surfaces and limited external intervention from the local Tyke taggers.
Take a look make up your mind – yay or nay?
It looks like they’re here to stay.
Junction of Fir Road and Oldham Road
One fine day, I chanced to walk by just as the service was finishing.
I asked Assistant Curate Rev. Peter Scott if it would be possible to photograph the interior of the church, he kindly consented.
Here are the results, along with shots of the excitingly angular exterior.
The church’s exterior is home to a dramatic concrete relief.
Let’s take a look inside, complex volumes and multiple window-lighting points, along with simple decorative order.
Of particular note – the organ pipes located above the main entrance.
Once again I can’t thank Rev. Peter Scott enough for giving us access to this beautiful church, serving the parishioners of Miles Platting.
I have been here before, primarily to record Alan Boyson’s screen wall.
Walking the stairwells, ramps and interlocking tiers, the curious pedestrian becomes aware of the ambition and complexity of the scheme. Often identified on local social media groups as an anachronistic eyesore, I feel that it is a thing of rare and precious beauty.
Knock most of the precinct down, free the river, but keep this wall and what is within.
Some are slaughtering imaginary white elephants, whilst others are riding white swans.
Currently under the ownership of Stockport Borough Council, changes are afoot.
Work to redevelop Adlington Walk in Stockport starts this week, as the first stage in the regeneration of the 55-year-old Merseyway shopping centre.
As of today work is still in Covid induced abeyance, it is still possible to walk the old revamped Adlington Walk. The future of retail in particular and town centres in general is in the balance, the best of the past and the finest of the new should be the watchword.
The scheme and car park redevelopment, is managed by CBRE of Manchester.
The future shopper is looking for more than just a simple buying transaction, they want an experience, entertainment and excitement.
This is where Merseyway Shopping Centre’s future lies.
CBRE Group Inc. is an American commercial real estate services and investment firm. The abbreviation CBRE stands for Coldwell Banker Richard Ellis. It is the largest commercial real estate services company in the world.
Their net worth as of January 28th 2021 is $21.18 Billion.
It is to be hoped that these dreams of entertainment and excitement, may be realised in the not too distant future.
In the meanest of mean times, in the mean time let’s have a look around.
The future moocher is looking for more than just a simple buying transaction, they want an experience, entertainment and excitement.
There comes a time in everyone’s life, when one simply must go to Rotherham, at least once – so I did.
To keep company with my personal town guide, Sheffield Modernist and local resident, Helen Angell.
I arrived early at Rotherham Central, so went for a solo wander.
The station was originally named Rotherham, becoming Rotherham and Masborough in January 1889 and finally Rotherham Central on 25 September 1950.
The newish Rotherham Central station was opened to passengers on 11 May 1987, the present iteration on Friday 24 February 2012, as part of the Rotherham Renaissance plans for the regeneration of the town.
Opened 22 December 1934 as the Regal Cinema with Leslie Howard in Girls Please. Sandy Powell, the famous comedian attended opening night this 1,825 seat. It was designed by the Hull based architectural firm Messrs Blackmore & Sykes for local exhibitor Thomas Wade and was leased to the Lou Morris chain.
By 1937 it was operated by the London & Southern Super Cinemas Ltd. chain. The Regal Cinema was leased to the Odeon circuit in 1946 and was re-named Odeon. It was sold by the Rank Organisation to an independent operator in 1975 and renamed Scala Cinema, by 1981 using the circle only.
Closed 23rd September 1983 with the film Porky’s.
Became a bingo hall initially named Ritz but now Mecca. On 20th February 2020 the building was put up for sale by auction at an asking price of £600,000+, but failed to sell, with the maximum reached £590,000. Mecca bingo continues in the building.
Curious corner retail development and sculpture of the Sixties – with pub archeology.
Art Deco detail and tiling.
Royal Mail Sorting Office.
Main contractors J. Finnegan it’s thirteen storeys high – housing forty eight dwellings.
Interwar Technical College – Howard Building
From the 1930s, it provided technical-orientated education from the Howard Building on Eastwood Lane, Rotherham. In 1981, three neighbouring colleges of arts, technology and adult education were merged into one. As a result, the college became known as Rotherham College of Arts and Technology.
Revised plans to convert the historic Howard Building in Rotherham town centre into self-contained studios and apartments have been approved by the planning board at Rotherham Council.
The prominent former college building was sold prior to going to auction last September after it was advertised as a development opportunity and given a guide price of £250,000 by local auctioneers, Mark Jenkinson & son.
A group of rogue property directors with links to a prominent derelict building in Rotherham have been banned for a total of 54 years. The six, of Absolute Living Developments, were found to have misled more than 300 people to invest at least £12 million in residential properties.
The firm was linked through a lender to Avro Developments, which had plans passed in 2015 to renovate former college block the Howard Building in Rotherham town centre.
Next to the market.
With a strident high tech canopy, very recently added – though Rotherham’s history stems back 800 years when it is thought that the original royal market charter was granted by King John in the year 1207.
There are traces of the 1970’s rebuild.
Bunker-like The Trades former music venue/pub, which replaced the former riverside Trades Club.
The PA now silenced.
This was an amazing event. The bands were really good and the drinks offers, while limited, were good. The ceiling in the ladies toilets had fallen through and was dripping, presumably there had been a leak from all the rain, but this didn’t lessen the awesome experience.
The cooling towers and flats are long gone – the coal-fired power station operated from 1923 until October 1978.
The Prince of Wales Power Station in Rotherham was located on Rawmarsh Road and was opened by the Prince of Wales – the future King Edward VIII.
The former Grattans catalogue offices can be seen to the left.
Renamed Bailey House and still in use by the local authority, its days it seems are numbered.
The building is named after Rotherham-born engineer Sir Donald Bailey whose ingenious bridge designs played a key role in shortening World War II, the house in which Bailey was born, 24 Albany Street is still standing.
Sadly no longer home to the Harlem Shuffle
No big names – just big sounds.
There are some surviving power station buildings.
Along with electrical infrastructure.
Up the road next, to the former fire station, which now houses J E James Cycles.
It is surrounded by typically atypical inter war housing.
I could make the wild assumption, that these flat roofed maisonettes were originally homes fit for firefighters.
A passing nod towards a former Methodist Chapel.
Further on up the road to Peck House.
And the attendant tiles.
Just around the corner Backer Heating – still trading.
Returning toward town and enchanted by a giant 13 amp plug.
Under the underpass.
Then the other underpass.
Finally through the last underpass.
With a final notable note regarding Rotherham’s hand painted council commissioned signage – I’d like to think that they have a sign writer in their employ.
Many thanks to my learned companion Helen – thanks for a fine day out, so much to see and do!
Hall St Halifax HX1 5AY
Having walked from Hebden Bridge to Halifax with Mr Phil Wood, we approached Hall Street – and gazed admiringly at this striking building, from across the A58.
Attributed to C.S. Oldfield and it was completed in 1972 apparently they did the relief too.
20th Century Society
A low serrated, ridge and furrow conical roof, corona and steel spire breaking the skyline.
Very much a building of two halves, the single storey hall, adjoining the body of the church, which is raised on a plinth.
They are linked by an internal hallway.
An intriguing mix of restrained classical detailing, along with the more modernistic roof and internal structure.
From the outside it is possible to discern the stained glass panels in the corona.
To the right of the main entrance is a modular sculptural relief, modelled in concrete cast in fibreglass.
There are eight individual modules, set in a grid of six by eleven – sixty six in total, rotated to break up the rhythm of the piece.
I was blessed on the day of my visit, with permission to photograph the interior, many thanks to Pastor Mark.
A fitting finish to the series as we pass through the final subterranean frontier out into the clear light of the South Yorkshire day.
Each one is a neglected gem of municipal modernism, the underpass a feature under threat, the pedestrian often subsumed by the drive to accommodate the motor car.
As of last Wednesday, we all seem to have tenuously hung on in there.
Oh we’ll hear the thunder roar, feel the lightning strike.
At a point we’ll both decide to meet at the same time tonight.
Having posted the first underpass – let’s take a look at the second.
Orange on white, circles within circles squared.
Of course I’ve been here before – and you may have as well.
And I’ve been to Huyton too.
Tony Holloway’s work also illuminates the windows of Manchester Cathedral.
As well as the panels of the Faraday Tower, just the other side of UMIST.
The wall is listed, fenced and obscured by the gradual incursion of assorted greenery.
It’s beginning to attract moss, amongst other things – just not like a rolling stone.
Like nearly everything else, it looks different each time you pass by, more or less light, new tags and signs – so here it is as of Saturday 13th June 2020.
Locked in during the lockdown.
It’s April 2020 and I’m here again.
It’s lockdown so we can’t go far, so from home in Stockport to Collyhurst is within my daily exercise allowance.
There is talk of relocation for the diminutive Mitchell totem, but as of today no sign of any action – all is in abeyance.
What we do see is the encroachment of flora, cleaner air, low or no level human activity encourages growth between the cracks.
And at the base of the plinth
I took the opportunity to get in close.
Move around in a merry dance.
Quite something to spend time in an ever changing urban space – devoid of company, save for the calming sound of birdsong and the distant rumble of a distant train.