Wandered down London’s South Molton Street (next to Bond Street tube) recently to see the fantastically coloured benches I’d heard about, and indeed they are fun, multi-coloured and assorted strange shapes. Sadly, being early January, the sun never made it above the rooftops so not many people lingered, but they are a great idea. All the work of designer Camille Walala and installed last year; ten benches of different shapes along with planters. Have to come back in the summer!
The co-op architecture book – working title ‘England’s Co-operative Movement: An Architectural History’ – has survived its peer review (thanks to the reader for the helpful comments) and is now starting to wend its way through the Liverpool University Press production process. This is not a quick business, and things happen at about the speed of this horse-powered milk float from the Newport Pagnell Co-operative Society. Current estimate of publication date is late autumn next year, so one for the 2020 Christmas list!
Back from the Isle of Man, and many thanks to the island’s Victorian Society for all their kindness and hospitality. This miner, in glass reinforced concrete, is one of several such impressive (and expressive) images by David Gilbert on the exterior of the 1986-7 wing of the Manx Museum. I made it to the top of Snaefell, but can’t wait to go back to the island for more splendid seafood and excellent beer!
It’s taken a while, but the co-op architecture book is now complete and with the publisher, Liverpool University Press, who will publish it under the Historic England imprint sometime in 2020 hopefully. The whole project has lasted about five fascinating years, travelling around looking at co-op buildings and delving into archives. Thanks to all the staff at the many libraries and archives visited, especially the National Co-operative Archive in Manchester, with whom I shared the joys of working while the surrounding co-op estate was being renovated! Never a day without scaffolding….. These two pics, art deco Tamworth and brutalist Aberdeen, show just how varied co-op architecture can be. Can’t wait to see the proofs.
Just getting my head up from writing for a quick progress report – the book is now two-thirds written, so not too long to go. Then I have to write the captions! Enjoyed a trip to sunny Manchester to see the Co-op Quarter looking good, now refurbishment heading towards completion. What makes the area stand out is not simply the height of the buildings, there are many others in the city of a similar or greater height, but their density on the ground; the roads between are very narrow.
This is one of a set of 28 cigarette cards issued by the CWS around 1914-16 on the theme of CWS buildings and works. The quality of the images is obviously not great, but the fact that they are in colour is really useful architecturally. The series didn’t have a proper title, and the individual cards weren’t numbered, but I gather a collectors’ handbook has given them numbers. I’ve seen 25 out of the 28 as follows: 1 Tralee, 2 Crumpsall, 3 Leicester, 4 Bristol, 5 Leeds, 6 Dudley, 8 Manchester HQ, 9 Luton, 10 Desborough, 12 Avonmouth, 13 Dunston (flour mill), 14 Silvertown (flour mill), 15 Manchester (Sun Mill), 16 Huthwaite, 18 Middleton, 20 Newcastle, 22 Longsight, 23 Dunston (soap works), 24 Irlam, 25 Silvertown (soap works), 26 London (tea), 27 Manchester (tobacco), 28 Bury. I also know that there are cards for Pelaw (see pic) and Keighley, but I don’t know their numbers. So if anyone knows what numbers 7, 11, 17, 19 and 21 are, it would be great to hear from you!