To Sheffield via London, Hook Norton and Oxford

Shaddon MillOK  so it’s not the obvious route but on the way from the ‘Beer Writing – Past, present and future’ seminar at Hook Norton Brewery this Thursday (where I’m doing a book signing) I’m hoping to take some more industrial photos, including the famous marmalade factory in Oxford and the ‘White Building’ in Sheffield, with its white faience façade showing men engaged in various local trades. Unlike most of these monuments to industry, the men are wearing contemporary clothing; it is far more usual to see industrial scenes played out by dancing cherubs (see, for instance, Nottingham’s former Home Brewery offices) or by workers clad in medieval or even Roman/Greek style (see high up inside the quadrangle at the V&A). The photo is from last weekend, when I saw the old Shaddon Mill (Dixon’s Mill) in Carlisle, with its huge chimney, at one time the tallest in the country; I think the chimney at the Camperdown works in Dundee (which I shall be seeing in a few weeks) now beats it. Let’s hope the good photography weather continues!

Mill hunting in Stockport

Broadstone 352Latest industrial architecture trip was to Stockport, where saw mill after mill including this one (Broadstone), which was originally a double mill, half of which has now gone. The scale of these buildings is enormous. Just across the road is Houldsworth Mill, centre of the Houldsworth model village complex complete with church, and a few hundred yards further the pair of Elizabeth and Victoria Mills. A bus ride from Stockport centre is the wonderful Pear Mill (see the flickr pics) with a massive pear on its water tower, four pear finials (one on each corner of the main building), four smaller finials around the chimney base, a pear above a couple of entrances, and in case the onlooker still didn’t get the message, the word ‘Pear’ in a cartouche above the engine room (now a huge climbing centre). So that’s at least a dozen pears….. There’s a great deal of decorative terracotta detailing on these buildings too.

Suffolk power

Scallop Recently returned from a photography trip (and holiday) in sunny Suffolk, where I saw the lovely Long Shop at Leiston, a wonderful building and the centre of a museum devoted to Garrett’s, the local engineers. More agricultural engineering on show in Stowmarket at the Museum of East Anglian Life. Including a visit to various industrial sites in Norwich, came back with about half a dozen new photos for the Vic & Ed industrial architecture book, so that’s over threequarters of them done now. The hard part, ie the writing, comes next….. Briefly saw Aldeburgh and Maggi Hambling’s Scallop (which feels as good as it looks); curiously, to the north one can see three power sources, Sizewell’s dome (nuclear), the House in the Clouds (it was a water tower) and a windmill.

Dragon hunting in Glasgow

glasgow dragon I’ve been busy travelling all over the place to collect photographs for the Vic & Ed industrial architecture book, last week fetching up in Halifax and Glasgow, the latter on one of their Doors Open days. Felt very fortunate to see the trades stained glass panels at Maryhill Burgh Halls – although pictures are easily available on the web, the real thing was so much better; the detail of the tools and workplaces is incredible. And a fine little talk on the panels from local author (and mountaineer) Ian R Mitchell, for which many thanks; his book Glasgow Mosaic is excellent on industrial ‘stuff’. The wonderfully 1960s St Gregory’s Church was close by, with a fibreglass mural by Charles Anderson and some great stained glass, then just had time to head south in search of the dragon. At least, I think he (is it a he? how does one tell?!) is a dragon although the building’s category A list description specifies a griffin. However, a griffin should have the body of a lion and legs of an eagle. This, er, chap is more lizard-like with four clawed legs and of course the wings, and that is certainly not a beak. Also he is not a wyvern as he has two pairs of legs, rather than the wyvern’s one. So I guess he is probably a dragon, up there amongst the rainwater goods. And the building? I leave you to guess, but it is an unusually art nouveau styled works façade.

Le Tour coming up

yellow jersey leedsOff to Leeds and Huddersfield at the weekend for Le Tour; hope to see the peloton whizzing downhill into Huddersfield on day 2 afternoon. Excitement mounts, especially in Leeds where I was this week taking photos of assorted mills and warehouses for the industrial architecture book. Temple Works looking great now that the rubbish bin has been removed from out front, but parked cars as ever blocking a full height straight-on view. At least the sun shone, and spotted this yellow-jersey-wearing statue opposite the main railway station, along with what appears to be an inflatable bike (now that would be handy for taking on the train…..)

Built to Brew is published!

Glovers2Midsummer’s day and my copy of Built to Brew arrives, so the book is a reality. Feelings of relief aside, I took time out to look at and enjoy it, remembering the stories behind the illustrations. There will be celebrations tonight! By now of course I’m in the middle of planning and taking photographs for my next book, a study of Victorian and Edwardian factory and industrial architecture (so there’s obviously some overlap with breweries). My photo this week is of a jolly group of workers at Glover’s Peacock Brewery in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, taken around 1900.

Once round the cement works

Hope WorksHave been in London at the Emblems and Enigmas heraldry symposium. My presentation was in a group with others on informal French heraldry, football club badges and crests, and modern attitudes to heraldry. The discussion afterwards was fascinating and very broad; very good day altogether and organisers hope to publish the papers. After that went to Derbyshire walking in the Hope Valley (around Hathersage, Stanage Edge, Hope, Castleton and so on). Lots of people get upset about the very obvious presence of the Hope Cement Works, but it seems most of my photos are views of the works….. So back to reality now and getting started on my Victorian and Edwardian industrial buildings book. Sadly the cement works is just too late for inclusion.

A new book in prospect

Liebig5Exciting times here, as I’ve just signed a contract with a publisher to write and illustrate (lots of new photos) a book on Victorian and Edwardian industrial architecture – that is, the buildings most industrial archaeologists seem not to care so much about, meaning the factories and works rather than the mines, infrastructure etc. I have this year and most of next to write the book, and sort out several photography trips, as the whole of the UK is involved, as well as the Republic of Ireland. Publication probably 2016 I suppose. Happy days! My illustration this week is one of Liebig’s trade cards showing a jolly view of the brewhouse in Munich, presumably during Oktoberfest. Enjoy….

Roman beer

Peroni factoryRome might not be the obvious place to go looking for industrial buildings, but there are a few, including the old Peroni factory (1909, architect Gustavo Giovannoni) which stands a little way north of the main railway station (Termini). It ceased to brew in 1971 and was converted to one of the sites of the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MACRO) during the 1990s. Later a glass roof was added connecting the two blocks of the works, covering over the old brewery yard. The yard entrance (on the opposite side to this photo) has the word ‘scuderie’ on the archway; google translate tells me this means ‘teams’ – teams of horses? Or?? Need more research!