Beer heraldry

robinsons unicornThanks to everyone at the NAHS meeting last Wednesday, for being a great audience and providing some lovely stories afterwards. What felt like moments after that presentation an email arrived telling me my abstract on beer and heraldry had been accepted for the symposium Emblems and Enigma: The Heraldic Imagination (London, 26 April 2014, see heraldics2014 for details). I was delighted – then realised I now had three months to build an idea into an actual paper; time for some serious research…. This unicorn at Robinson’s in Stockport is a start. Meanwhile, progress is good on Built to Brew and it seems we have a proposed publication date of May 2014 (or thereabouts). The page layouts are looking fantastic.

A brewer’s memorial

Boddington window ManchesterJust finished my presentation for the Northern Architectural History Society meeting next week. Was considering using this pic, which is the memorial window of brewer Henry Boddington (1813-86) at St Ann’s Church in Manchester, but disappointingly (though not unusually) it has no brewing-related imagery. The window was part of a c1890 scheme by artist Frederic Shields on the theme of the good shepherd, all carried out by the firm Heaton, Butler & Bayne. Boddington’s Strangeways Brewery closed in 2005 and was demolished all but its iconic chimney stack, which hung on until 2010 when it too was lost.

Postwar murals again


A lot of positive things have happened around the topic of postwar murals since I first began looking at them in the 1990s. Listings, conferences and books, all generate interest in an area that could do with even more research into the lesser-known artists of the time, especially those using ceramics and other non-paint materials. So this is just a reminder that my book, A Field Guide to Postwar Murals (Blue House Books, 2008) is still available through the blurb website, and best of all the ebook version (readable on ipads) is still under £2. There’s a 15-page preview on the blurb website.

Page layouts arrive!

Lava Beer

I feel I should be using twitter for this, but since I don’t have an account, the blog will have to do. The first page layouts for the new breweries book have just arrived! They look wonderful and it is tremendous to at last see the text and images all together on the page. More at the Built for Brewing blog. The pic is of Lava beer, a smoked Imperial stout, from the Olvisholt Brugghus in southwest Iceland. So nothing to do with the book, but very suitable for celebrations at 9.4%! Very drinkable, as I remember.