I’ve been here before and after.
After now seems further away, forever awaiting redevelopment – waiting.
No more Flower Pot Café and a warm welcome from Lee and the lads.
Nearly nine years on – the shutters are down and nobody is home, save for the Lalley Centre – offering food, support and care to the community.
Though Sister Rita Lee has now move on to pastures new.
The homes and shops remain resolutely shut, un-lived in and unloved, though the City plans to re-site the resident sculpture, the residents remain absent without leaving.
A post-war northern town, facing the problems of bomb damage, poor quality housing, and the pressing need for new homes.
In 1963 there seemed to be space and the will to build, the site at the centre of the image flanked by ageing Victorian terraces and industry.
Soon to become the Mottram Street Development.
Back in 1965 these were the highest housing tower blocks in Greater Manchester.
The work of borough architects John Rank and Clifford Fernley.
1960’s Photographs from the Stockport Image Archive
1980’s photographs from The Tower Block
Typically they incorporated concrete street furniture, sculptural and decorative detail, in keeping with the age.
Like many other developments of the period they have subsequently been clad, fenced, painted and secured beyond recognition.
There was a raised concrete play area, of which nothing has survived.
A little of their original character however has prevailed – a William Mitchellesque fallen obelisk, along with some panelling and planters.
Curious to see public art behind bars
– would that they were removed.
Could there be a more moderne town?
Bexhill on Sea, blessed with the delightful De La Warr Pavillion.
Plus the Pallot and Collins murals inset into the wall of their local branch of Sainsbury’s.
The third such public sculpture I have had the pleasure to visit following trips to Newcastle and the now defunct BHS in my hometown of Stockport.
Henry William Collins and Joyce Millicent Pallot have a very special place in my heart, their lives’ work together gracing the Festival of Britain, GPO Tower and Expo 70, along with other retail outlets in Southampton, Gloucester, and Colchester. A distinctive style of bas relief in impressed concrete, ceramic terrazzo and simple modern motifs, drawn from local history and imagery.
Take a look around.
We here in Stockport have our own BHS murals, happily so does Newcastle.
The work of acclaimed artists Joyce Pallot and Henry Collins, they worked on a large number of murals and exhibition designs for amongst others, Jamestown Festival, USA; Brussels Exhibition; Expo 70; Japan; Shell Centre; GPO Tower, London; Grosvenor House, London; Ind Coope Ltd; Philips Business Systems; Sainsburys; British Home Stores; Cwmbran Arts Trust; Essex County Council and IBM, London.
They never worked on the site itself, but used a regular contractor Hutton’s Builders Ltd Colchester, who cast the concrete in panels around four feet square. There are two relief panels, depicting events in the history of Newcastle. Highly stylised, the relief is moulded to a depth of 5cm and features some charming Geordie characters.
The left panel contains the following inscriptions and images Monkchester with Roman head and Newcastle coat of arms. Roman ship and golden coin. Collier Brig 1704-1880 with ship. Oceanus with anchor and seahorse with trident. The right panel contains the following inscriptions and images: Jupiter Fortuna with two figures. Engineering; Davy and Stephenson; coal mining ship building with images of same. G & R Stephenson; Armstrong Whitworth; Rocket 1829 with image of first steam engine. Armstrong 12 Pounder RA with image of gun. 1878 J.Swan Pons Aelius with bridges depicted below. Turbinia and image of ship. Various churches with names carved about including Grainger Dobson 1865; 1838 Green Stokoe; Bewick with a swan; a figure and Brigantia. Final section on far right has Geordie over two figures, then the Keel Row with a loading boat at the bottom.
Information from – PMSA
The building was originally developed by C&A and it is thought that funding for the reliefs might have been provided by the store and/or Northern Arts. It became BHS which subsequently closed last year, the building is now occupied by Primark, C&A estates still own the site.
The mural illustrated the cover of the 1975 Newcastle Festival.
The three concrete totem sculptures of 1966 by William Mitchell, which stand in the courtyard of the Allerton Building, University of Salford, are recommended for designation at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Historic Interest: as a good representative example of the commissioning of public artwork as an integral element of the design of new higher education colleges and universities in the post-war period, here succeeding in imbuing a distinct identity and image on an otherwise relatively plain complex.
So it seemed appropriate to cycle to Salford early one sunny Saturday morning, in an otherwise relatively plain manner in order to see the three totems.
William Mitchell was a leading public artist in the post-war period who designed many pieces of art in the public realm, working to a high artistic quality in various materials but most notably concrete, a material in which he was highly skilled, using innovative and unusual casting techniques, as seen in this sculptural group. He has a number of listed pieces to his name, both individual designs and components of larger architectural commissions by leading architects of the day.
Historic England says so, they loved them so much they listed them Grade II.
I loved them so much I listed them lovely, especially in lowish spring light, set against a clear blue sky and framed by the surrounding academic buildings.
Further info here on Skyliner
Go take a look.
|Adolfine Ryland worked as a printmaker, sculptor, painter and designer. Her practice across these different media was united by her keen-edged, modern style and inventive graphics. She had studied at Heatherley’s and at the Grosvenor School of Modern Art under printmaker Claude Flight.
Ryland’s main exhibiting venue was the Women’s International Art Club, where she showed from 1927 onwards, becoming a member from 1936 to 1954. She also undertook public commissions, and worked for London County Council designing low reliefs for a number of buildings, among them the School of Butchers and St Martin’s School of Art. Her reliefs for the art school, which still decorate the entrance, show students at work. But Ryland’s work is not always easy to identify as she sometimes signed herself ‘Koncelik’, her mother’s maiden name.
In 1987 the Michael Parkin Gallery in London held an exhibition Printmakers of the 20s and 30s and Adolfine Ryland. On show were Ryland’s paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures and designs for book jackets and posters. Amongst them were two designs advertising London Underground, which speak of an optimistic age of efficient, modern public transport to the new suburbs.
It says so here
I was sauntering down Charing Cross Road on Saturday last, minding my own and everyone else’s business, then perchance I chanced upon a series of low reliefs, tucked neatly away in a nearby portal.
The London County College for the Distributive Trades – rightfully adorned with appropriate public art depicting the lasses and lads, going about their very practical business.
These are the work of Adolfine Ryland.
The building is currently in use as Foyles Bookshop.
Returning home, I did a little online research, turning these examples of her work. As is often the case with those figures considered to be on the margins of the big bad Art World, time and the subsequent neglect, conspire to leave little by way of evidence of their invaluable efforts.
This is our loss.
Coventry city centre is a city centre, comprised of several interlocking post- war facets, realised over a thirty year period. This later addition the Bull Yard, the work of Arthur Ling and Terence Gregory, city architects and planning officers.
It incorporates pedestrian walkways, retail, civic and car parking facilities with a crowded unease and grace. Much of the original detail survives, though not unusually, some more recent additions detract from the integrity of the scheme.
The site is graced by two major works by William Mitchell – the concrete facade and interior of the former Three Tuns public house.
And the sculpted panels on Hertford street.
So we are left with a series of spaces that now seem slightly adrift, particularly the City Arcade, as both the earlier and more recent developments in the city compete for clients and customers.
To explore is to discover a work continually in progress, or regression, as the forces of heritage, commercial development, and civic planning pull each other this way and that.
There is an initiative for redevelopment for the area yet to find a satisfactory resolution.
Take a look.