The Brampton – Where Broom Grows

Drawing of the Brampton Museum, detail of the red brick elevation, by artist Ronnie Cruwys
Three storeys of beautiful red brickwork

Broom grows outside my kitchen window here in Scotland – I love the intense yellow after the greys of winter.  Broom links me to my next drawing in my red ochre series: the Brampton Museum in Newcastle-under-Lyme. The name Brampton means ‘place where broom grew’ – I wonder if any still grows in the park?

Broom outside my window in Hazelbank

The Museum is located just outside Newcastle-under-Lyme’s town centre in Brampton Park, surrounded by mature trees and shrubs.

Drawing of the Brampton Museum, detail of the eaves and windows, by artist Ronnie Cruwys
Deep overhanging eaves of the Brampton Museum

Long before this became a park, this was common land grazed and cultivated by the town burgesses. Eventually, the field was sold and Victorian villas were built – including ‘The Firs’ in 1855 and ‘Pitfield House’. The gardens of these Villas now make up the present park. You can read more about the history of the park here.

Drawing of the Brampton Museum, Newcastle Under Lyme, detail of the windows, by artist Ronnie Cruwys
Detail of a former doorway
Look out for curious details

Twenty one years after ‘The Firs’ was built, Newcastle’s first museum was born just off the Ironmarket in Lad Lane. This consisted of a public library, a reading room and museum.

It was during the early years of WW2 that the Borough Museum was founded in the Lancaster Buildings. Eventually it moved to its current location in Brampton Park. You can read more about the history here – written by Neville Malkin, 9th June 1976.

The Russian Canon outside the museum
The Market Cross and the Russian Canon

Here’s the drawing in full. You can see the rest of my red ochre series of Newcastle-under-Lyme on my website Drawing the Street or browse my Etsy shop where the originals are for sale (available to buy at the time of writing).

The complete drawing of the side elevation of the Brampton

The second drawing of the Brampton shows the side towards Pitfield House, with some of the garden and more of the wonderful roofscape.

View from the play area side

I’ll sign off with a picture from the 2019 exhibition at the Brampton ‘Capturing the Past’. I was delighted that my collection of street drawings were included in the exhibition – they’ve been part of the Museum archive since 2018.

Thanks for reading

Ronnie 🙂

To Market To Market

pen and ink drawing of Newcastle under Lyme markets and the guildhall
Market Cross with the market stalls behind

Newcastle town centre is alive with markets! Back in the 13th century, there was only the one market day but now markets are held 6 days a week with an additional one held monthly on a Sunday.

This is the second of six new red ochre sketches of Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre – the full set can be seen on my website Drawing the Street.

Chatting outside the Guildhall

The history of the markets is ancient. There’s an in-depth write up on the town’s history on the British History website: there is evidence that a market was held in Newcastle-under-Lyme as far back as 1203 when the market day was changed from Sunday to Saturday, for which the burgesses had to pay a fine to the king. I bet the good folk of ‘Castle didn’t go much on that.

pen and ink drawing of the Guildhall in Newcastle under Lyme by artist Ronnie Cruwys
Southern view of the Guildhall on the High Street

It’s possible that the market day remained unchanged until 1590 when under Elizabeth I’s charter, market day was declared to be Monday and it remained so until the beginning of the 19th century when an additional Saturday was added to meet a larger population.

Here’s the drawing in full.

Market Cross and the Guildhall, Newcastle-under-Lyme

Let’s take a few steps to the left and look at the market cross from a different angle. The market cross was located further up the street in medieval times, opposite the Ironmarket.

Lamps at the top of the Market Cross
Detail at the street

It required some restoration work in the mid-1500s when it’s thought that the five steps were built. Later, in the early 1800s it was moved to the present location when the lamps were added.

Market Cross with the High Street behind

The finished original drawings are set in standard 10 x 12 inch mounts ready to frame and now listed with full description in my Etsy shop.

If you’re looking for a print instead – please get in touch.

Market Cross and the Guildhall

Thanks for reading 🙂

Ronnie

Look up! Lanimer Day 2022

Over the course of a week, there have been two back-to-back celebrations here in Lanark. The Platinum Jubilee has led straight into Lanimer Day 2022.

A Crown for the Jubilee

I thought it was timely to share a few sketches of Lanark to mark this lively time of year and I have to include the parts of the town that appeal to me most – the roofscapes, windows, chimneys, towers and eaves…..and the colourful bunting that makes it all feel like summer is here at last, even with grey skies!

Crown Tavern on Hope Street, Lanark
Tower on St Nicholas Church seen from Hyndford Place

Chimneys, roofscapes and church spires….

Jacks the Ironmongers – you name it – they’ve got it. Fantastic shop.

Jacks on Hyndford Place – Lanark
Buckets, wheel barrows, bird tables and watering cans

Here’s the top of North Vennel. In a few weeks there will be a dinosaur lurking around here.

Top of North Vennel

Signing off with Tea Time on the corner of the town where Castlegate meets Hyndford Place.

If you see any work that you would like as a print – just get in touch. I’ve recently topped up my Etsy shop so please have a look!

Thanks for reading and Happy Lanimer Day 2022

Ronnie 🙂

The Old Barracks

Waiting for the X164 bus from Newcastle-under-Lyme town centre back to Whitmore was a sketch moment. My car must have been getting fixed at Ryan’s garage – sketched here the year before.

I keep places/buildings that I find interesting in mind to draw later – in this case several years later! Recently I’ve concentrated on some new sketches in and around the town centre and I thought I would start sharing the first of them ‘The Barracks’, here.

Roofline of the Barracks Workshops

Barracks Road was once named Friar’s Road; the name changed in recognition of the Barracks. It was built in 1855, in red brick ‘Italian style’. This was the headquarters of the 3rd King’s Own Staffordshire Rifle Regiment, which assembled annually at Newcastle for training, until 1880.

You can discover more about the history of this building here on the Potteries website. I’m delighted to hear that it received a grant a few years ago towards window repairs.

Entrance to courtyard

The Barracks workshops is now home to a number of small businesses and has been popping up on various social media posts.

There is also a heritage project running which is looking for people who have memories of the history and uses of this building – more about that on the Sentinel’s website here.

You can see the full set of new drawings on my Drawing the Street website.

The original drawing of the Barracks is available to buy mounted and ready to frame in my etsy shop here .

Thanks for reading

Ronnie 🙂

Step Inside for some Tolbooth Art!

Let’s have a look around the Tolbooth main gallery area at ground level. The side windows face up the length of the High Street and it’s worth taking a look in every few days as work is sold and new art brought in.

Beautiful wooden bowl by Willy Watson, jewellery by Ann Ross, abstract painting by Allan Wood
Textiles by Beth Fleming

Lovely hand-made hats and textiles by Beth Fleming as well as this wee chappie’s bandanas. This is Boothby, the Tolbooth dog. He was given a bit of a fluff-up and a new outfit from Beth and now models the bandanas and tasty dog treats.

‘Boothby’ – the Tolbooth dog
Wooden birds and deer by Willie Watson and necklace by Ann Ross
Brilliant designs by Dave Randall and Andrew Rennie

Look out for artwork by Jean Mellin, Kirsten Harris, Pat McKenzie and Jane Charlton.

Below, some fun wee pirates and elves by Dianne McNaughton – check out her amazing paintings here. Hand-crafted wire-wrapped jewellery by Hanne Harris and necklace by Jean Mellin. A variety of beautiful pottery by artist/ceramicist Richard Price. Glass robins by Sian Press.

Second row Annie Stillman‘s hand -painted hearts, evergreen glass mistletoes by Biggar Glass, stylish glass Christmas trees by Carol Shoel and the wee cottages by Nikki Lambi of Material Geeks.

Bottom row we have hand sewn fabric coasters by the multi-talented artist Evelyn McEwan, walking pebble figures by Gemma Lamara, wee bear (with mask in pocket) by Lisa Ritchie, glass stars by Carol Shoel.

This year, there is a focus to raise funds to improve access to the first floor of the Tolbooth. The Tolbooth is supported by a team of committed volunteers who know what a good thing this place is for the town. Even buying a pack of cards helps!

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie

Step Upstairs!

This is the third year of sketching at the Christmas pop-up shop in the Tolbooth, Lanark. Over 40 artists living in and around the Clyde Valley submit some of their hand-made created/painted/knitted/woven/sewn art work to sell and contribute toward the upkeep of this vital community building. Plus they offer a wide range of gorgeous gifts for friends and family.

First floor of the Tolbooth Christmas 2019

This year, there is a focus to raise funds to improve access to the first floor of the Tolbooth.

Back in Dec 2019, the focus was to redecorate the first floor, improve the lighting and flooring to make it a more attractive room for community use. This has been done and with some style!

Gentlemen of the Tolbooth 2019…and Millie

I’m delighted to have some of my framed limited edition prints of Lanark’s historic streets on display upstairs. You can see these in more detail on my website here.

West Port Lanark and the Broomgate Lanark, framed by Caledonia Framers and ready to buy off the easel.
Framed limited edition prints of Lanark streets

There are a couple more of my framed prints available – here’s Bloomgate and the High Street pictured top right.

I love the circular work by Patricia West above – I think it’s called ‘Connections’ made with fragments of different sari fabric. Pat McKenzie’s work always catches my eye – she has some gorgeous art in the Tolbooth – my photos/sketches do her no favours!

That’s plenty for now. I will continue with a few more sketches in the next day or so. Meanwhile, keep well and warm.

Tolbooth tree 2021 with glimpses of paintings by Kirsten Harris

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie

West Port – Gateway to Lanark

Many years ago Lanark had four town gates: West Port, East Port, Wellgate and Castlegate. There’s no sign of the gate that once stood at West Port – it’s long gone, demolished sometime in the late 1700’s, but the name remains.

West Port, Lanark is the sixth in my series of street drawings of this Royal Burgh. Here’s a clip from the part of the street where it meets Friar’s Lane.

West Port, Lanark

My street drawings are flat-faced elevations – it keeps things simple and allows me to relate cleanly from one building to another in a way that can be read with ease in future. It shows the relationships of eaves and rooflines, heights and widths of properties and the general fall of the ground. It also gives clues as to what might lie beyond – take for example the chimney stacks. Here you can see the lines of stacks but no idea of the extent of their scale….

West Port Lanark

Let’s take a closer look at the stacks that sit on this early 19th century part of the street. I’ve recently drawn a series of sketches of the town for #inktober – looking at some of the less familiar views. Here though, this is a view you will see as you head out south from the town.

Roofline over West Port, Lanark

Look at these rows of chimney pots! Each one will service a fireplace somewhere inside these buildings.

Below is a close up of the West Port B&B which is one of the Instagram #inktober series (you can look these up on my Instagram page @drawingthestreet). The original is now framed and on sale in the Tolbooth, Lanark.

The West Port B&B

Moving along the street, let’s look at these two fine early 19th C buildings. The one on the left listed grade C, the one on the right grade B.

West Port, Lanark

Moving along West Port, we move poetically from Mucky Paws to the Police Station…

Mucky Paws (left) to the Police Station (right)

The last part of this section of the street drawing is shown below.

Eu Kirk and neighbours

Here’s the whole street drawing – from Friar’s Lane to number 43 West Port. You can see the drawing in more detail on my website drawing the street along with the other Lanark streets in this series including the High Street, Bloomgate, Broomgate and Wellgate.

As I write (9th Dec 2021), there’s one limited edition print, 104cm x 36cm, signed, framed and ready to hang on your wall, available from the Tolbooth Lanark. There are over 40 artists displaying their work there at the moment, so if you can’t see it on the wall, it may be awaiting its turn! Please ask at the Tolbooth reception or just email me: ronniecruwys@drawingthestreet.co.uk

West Port original from the 2021 Instagram #inktober series

I’ll sign off with the final framed original of West Port from the #inktober series which is also available to buy from the Tolbooth, Lanark.

Thanks for reading

Ronnie 🙂

Framed West Port – part of the #inktober series 2021

Framed original artwork of West port now available to buy from the Tolbooth, Lanark.

Warm Glow in Audlem

There’s always been a warm glow from this much loved shop on Shropshire Street in Audlem, a village which can trace its ancestry back to the Domesday book when it was known as Aldelime. It’s located next to the Shropshire Union Canal where you can find a run of 15 locks designed by Thomas Telford to lift the canal by 28m from the Cheshire Plain to the Shropshire Plain.

Arched doorway into Manchester House

Williams of Audlem was established 159 years ago – a record to be proud of! Whilst I was living in nearby Newcastle-under-Lyme, I drew most of the street frontages of this fascinating place and recorded them on my website Drawing the Street.

Williams of Audlem stock some of my signed limited edition giclee prints and there are currently two unframed prints of ‘The Square’ in stock, featuring the family run pub and restaurant ‘The Lord Combomere’.

The Lord Combomere, The Square, Audlem
1 and 2 The Square, Audlem, formerly ‘The Crown’

You can see the rest of this drawing here.

Head north west from The Square and you reach Cheshire Street where you’ll see this lovely red brick Georgian town house set against the backdrop of the 13thC church of St James, listed grade one.

Boots the Chemist, Cheshire Street, Audlem

There is one framed giclee print available in Williams as I write (8th Dec 2021). Here’s a close up of the some of the buildings that make up this side of the street.

The Fold, Cheshire Street, Audlem

A few more cropped images from the street drawing below:

Smithy House, Cheshire Street, Audlem
Primrose Grange, Audlem

You can see this side of the street in full on my website here.

I’d like to close with a wee thank you to Judy Evans of Williams of Audlem who has been a loyal supporter of my work for many years and to pay a tribute to her beloved Dad Derek, seen here putting out the morning papers for the good readers of Audlem.

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie 🙂

Wee Mans and Wee Dug of Castlegate, Lanark

There’s a node of activity surrounding St Nicholas Church and the Tolbooth, Lanark. The ancient Castlegate converges with the High Street nearby and it’s easy to miss the history when you are concentrating on the traffic. Castlegate is one of the town’s oldest streets as it once led to the castle, the heart and origin of what was to become the Royal Burgh of Lanark.

St Nicholas Church from North Vennel

If you glance down Castlegate from the High Street you should catch sight of the wee Girnin’ Dug – looking down from his parapet above Castlegate.

Girnin Dug of Castlegate

If the Wee Dug was alive today, I’ve no doubt he’d make his way to the Wee Mans below for conviviality and snacks!

Castlegate was originally a very wide street when it was once the location of the early medieval markets. However, it reduced in size when the Broomgate was constructed in the 18th century.

Wee Mans pub on Castlegate

This October, I joined the Instagram #inktober2021 challenge to draw daily in ink throughout the month. There were various given themes but I chose to draw some of the less familiar views of Lanark.

Looking up Castlegate towards High Street, Lanark
Castlegate, St Nicholas Church and the High Street, Lanark

There are a few of older cottages on the Castlegate which remain from the 18th century – I don’t know for sure but these below look similar to the old weavers cottages dotted around the town.

All the original drawings and some prints are now available to buy from the Tolbooth, Lanark where every purchase made contributes to the upkeep and future growth of this town treasure!

At present the Tolbooth is hosting the creative works of some 40 artists in South Lanarkshire, from fine art original paintings to hand-made, palm sized gifts, perfect to post abroad or to put on your tree – a feast to behold and a fantastic destination for Christmas gifts!

As always, thanks for reading.

Ronnie 🙂

Collecting Fruit

I love finding links between things that have caught my eye in places past which connect me to the present. Here’s October, ‘the mature man collecting fruit’ seen high above the Wedgwood Institute in Burslem, Staffordshire.

Today, up here in Scotland, a few volunteers from the local orchard group gathered to press the last of the Clyde Valley apples into apple juice. I doubt they were draped in robes like this but it must be a seasonal activity that goes back generations.

When I first saw the sequence of seasons and astrological symbols above the Wedgwood Institute in Burslem, Staffordshire, I was captivated by the detail, quality and symbolism of the sculptures and mosaics high above street level.

The mosaics looked weather-beaten but there was enough detail to see what might have been. I wanted to capture each of the months and zodiac signs before a few more winters saw them off – you can see from my photo that the mosaic tesserae have begun to fall away.

Scorpio is a much maligned sign of the zodiac, but to me it is a symbol of what is all part of the season of life events representing the cycle of dark and light, death and rebirth and so on.

On the Wedgwood Institute, you can see the full sequence of astrological signs set in mosaic roundels above the terracotta figures of the months.

I loved working out the forms of each sign so I could paint them in the sparkling mineral pigments of lapis lazuli and malachite set against the red and yellow earth pigments. It’s a great setting to add the glitter of Cornelissen’s 23 carat shell gold to give a celestial background!

Final layout below before I had them all mounted and sent to Barewall Art Gallery in Burslem.

It’s been a while since I’ve been to Burslem and no doubt there have been many changes but Barewall Gallery is still very much at the heart of Burslem, the creative mother town of the Potteries. I’m delighted that they are stocking all of the original artwork of the months and zodiacs – quite a few have already sold.

To give you an idea of Burslem’s townscape – here’s a sketch of Market Place from about 5 years ago.

Burslem Spring 2016

To close and bring this full circle, my nephew visited me in Staffordshire back in 2015 and I took him to Middleport Pottery in Burslem. On our way out we found ourselves on Nephew Street!

Skip forward a few years and we’ve moved up to the Braes. Once again the season has moved to that time of ‘collecting fruit‘, but this time my nephew visited with a wee helper….

As always, thanks for reading!

Ronnie

drawing out the best in our streets