Mitzi Solomon Cunliffe January 1st 1918 December 30th 2006
American born, resident of Didsbury Manchester, sculptor and designer, responsible for, amongst other things, the BAFTA mask.
Her first large scale commission was two pieces for the Festival of Britain in 1951. One, known as Root Bodied Forth, shows figures emerging from a tree, and was displayed at the entrance of the Festival. The second, a pair of bronze handles in the form of hands, adorned the Regatta Restaurant. She created a similar piece, in the form of knots, in 1952 which remains at the School of Civic Design at Liverpool University, along with The Quickening in the rear courtyard.
Cunliffe developed a technique for mass-producing abstract designs in relief in concrete, as architectural decoration, which she described as sculpture by the yard. She used the technique to decorate buildings throughout the UK, but particularly in and around Manchester.
Particularly this example of four modular panels named Cosmos, set in the wall of the student halls of residence in Owens Park, Fallowfield, Manchester.
The Anglican Church of William Temple was opened in 1965 on the corner of Robinswood Road and Simonsway as the church of the Civic Centre. The mission was already well-established, having begun many years previously in Shadow Moss School Room, latterly operating in a dual-purpose building on Simonsway. The architect, George Pace, agreed with the proviso that he should not design a ‘pseudo’ building, but that it should be modern in concept. This he did and particular attention was paid to the acoustics with a view to music and drama being performed there. One of Pace’s stipulations was that, as with all the churches he designed, there must be no plaques attached to the walls commemorating the dedication of the church or in memory of anyone, for he said he built his churches to the Glory of God. The only lettered stone is on the back wall of the church and it has on it the date of the consecration and a symbol, which is Pace’s original sign for William Temple Church.
The internal supports of the church are black-painted steel girders, not romantically symbolising the industry of the area, as it is sometimes said, but because when it was discovered that the church had been built on swampy ground an extra £2,000 was needed for foundations; the wooden beams of the original design had to be changed for cheaper steel ones. There is symbolism, however, in the placing of the font between and beneath the three main weight-bearing supports of the church.
The pews have an interesting history, having been brought from derelict churches in and around Manchester. The present lady churchwarden said:
“whenever we heard of a church being demolished we borrowed Mr. Owen’s coal cart and went off to see if we could buy any of the pews. Many times I’ve sat on the back of the wagon, in the pouring rain, with the pews, bringing them back to Wythenshawe to be stored until our church building was completed!”
Some time after the building was opened a fire damaged some of the pews. With the insurance money all the pews were stripped and bleached, giving an element of uniformity and a bright welcoming atmosphere in the church generally. An interesting thought was voiced that as many people living in Wythenshawe now had their origins near to the centre of Manchester they may be sitting in the same pews in which their ancestors once sat.
Brucciani – 217 Marine Rd Central, Morecambe LA4 4BU217
Built on the eve of war in 1939, the local paper feared that Brucciani’s might not be good for the sedate Victorian image of Morecambe and that its presence could be positively harmful to young people. Originally a milk bar, Brucciani’s typifies the simple, geometric ‘high street deco’ styling popular at the time. The brown wood and chrome exterior has black lacquer base panels to the street, porthole lamps above the doors, ziggurat pattern doors, classic deco handles and original menus. The interior preserves extensive wall panelling, a slightly reworked counter, red Formica tables, red upholstered chairs, wall-to-wall etched glass of Venetian canal scenes, mirrors, deco clocks and even the original penny-in-the-slot cubicles in the cloakrooms.
I’ve been coming here for over ten years now, alone or in company, come rain or shine and without fail, as sure as ice is nice, I have a banana spilt – or to be more precise a Banana Royal.
Jenny Steele 2015
This is a café with a café menu, café furniture, café staff and service.
It only ever wanted and wants to be a café, unchanged by the uncaring winds of vicissitude and fashion. To tread the turquoise and tan linoleum, ‘neath the period lighting fixtures and fittings, to be seated on the warm red leatherette, one elbow on the circular Formica table is to enter into into a pact with a perfect past.
It’s on the front you can’t miss it – overlooking the Sunset Bay.
From the early part of the Twentieth Century trams and then buses stopped and started in Mersey Square, affording limited succour, space or shelter for the weary traveller.
View from the Fire Station Tower.
View from the Plaza Steps.
The land where the bus station currently stands was then owned and used by North Western Buses – a rather large and uncultivated plot.
Work began in April 1979 on a brand new bus station, the first stage finally opening on March 2nd 1982.
Slowly emerging from the rough ground – a series of glass and steel boxes worthy of that master of minimalism Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a Neue Nationalgalerie in miniature.
Photographs from Stockport Image Archive
It has stood and withstood the winds of change and perfidious public transport policy, the privatisation of the service, snatched greedily from local authority control.
Passengers have met and parted, whilst buses of every hue and stripe have departed from these draughty boxes.
Photograph from Victory Guy
There are now plans for imminent demolition and rebuilding – shaping a transport hub fit for the Twenty First Century – Space Age forms for a brave new world.
A new £42m transport interchange in Stockport town centre has taken a step forward after the local council agreed key measures to back the project.
April 9th 2017 here is my photographic record of the Bus Station, I’ve been, gone and come back again countless times through the years.
I was brought up with Sixties’ shopping precincts and centres, they are so very dear to my heart, I spent my teenage years here in Ashton, Stalybridge, and latterly in Stockport’s Merseyway.
I’ve visited Hanley, Preston, Salford, and Coventry in search of a certain something – that exciting sweeping swoop of concrete, brick, glass and steel. Underpasses with overarching designs and luxurious layouts of leisurely interlocking levels. Each one different in a different way yet essentially similar – embodying a sense of civic pride, a sense of the future realised.
1571 – The Royal Exchange, a trading market in the City of London, is officially opened by Elizabeth I. Above the open-air piazza where dealers buy and sell commodities, there is a two-storey shopping mall, with 100 different kiosks – making it Britain’s first shopping centre.
1964 – It was a monument to provincial pride in reinforced concrete and glass. When the Duke of Edinburgh opened the Birmingham Bull Ring in May 1964, it was the largest indoor shopping centre in Europe, with a total floor area of 23 acres. Inspired by American suburban malls, the Bull Ring promised coatless shopping in an air-conditioned, temperature-controlled hall maintained at late-spring level.
2017 – Many are now no more, or redeveloped beyond recognition. The integrity of the architecture, street furniture, public art, space and usage a thing of folk memory.
So come with me now on a whirlwind picture postcard tour of this Nation’s saving grace – it’s modernist shopping spaces.
Burton on Trent
Butts – Reading
Elephant and Castle
Walton on Thames
Westway – Frome
I’ve been here, before recording the prelude to the epilogue, here at Preston’s Indoor Market.
So on my return this February, I find that the inevitable end, is indeed now past nigh.
Boarded and shuttered awaiting demolition – Waiting for The Light to shine:
Preston City Council has granted planning permission to Muse Developments’ £50m cinema-led leisure scheme in the city centre.
Muse is working in partnership with the council on the plans, made up of an 11-screen cinema operated by The Light, seven family restaurants, a 593-space multi-storey car park and public realm improvements.
The project forms part of the wider regeneration of the Markets Quarter which includes the full refurbishment and redecoration of the grade two-listed market canopies and the construction of a glazed Market Hall.
Preston to their credit have become an exemplar for inward urban regeneration, and the work undertaken so far in the market area is bringing new life and trade to the area.
That said, it is always saddening to see the architecture of the Sixties swept aside.
So come take one last wander through the concrete warren of ramps, underpasses and tunnels of the unwanted indoor market.
Last time I was here it was there:
Covent Garden Flats Middle Hillgate in Stockport.
A small but important group of post-war council houses – very much in an inter-war European manner, homes to a settled community of cheerful, chatty residents.
The local authority tinned them up some year ago, ahead of a series of redevelopment proposals – last week that redevelopment reached its logical conclusion.
Whilst accepting the necessity for change, I also recognise the need to preserve what is best of the past, rather than replacing it with the present day architecture of cautiously consensual pastiche.
nuvu living for the nouveau be-tartaned riche:
So heavyhearted I circumnavigated the perimeter fence, recording forever that which was no longer there – their there replacing our there.