Category Archives: Building conservation

It will all come out in the wash

pen and ink illustration of Eccleshall Staffordshire
The west side of Stafford Street, Eccleshall, waiting to tell a story.

Back to Eccleshall for the sixth street in the ongoing series. When I began Drawing the Street, it was with the intention of adding morsels of history to the buildings which I draw. These are personal histories or facts that I record on my archive blog Drawing the Detail which is accessible for anyone researching their ancestors or simply wanting to know a little more of who lived where, what they did or made and so on.

pen and ink drawing of eccleshall
Black and white under-drawing

Whilst I was working on this drawing, I noticed on ‘Eccleshall Today‘ that someone had posted about a recent visit to Shrewsbury Prison where he had seen a notice about an execution of an Eccleshall man, William Griffiths, back in July 1923. It appears that William and his mother, Catherine Hughes,¬† lived somewhere on this steet, probably in one of the buildings to the left and given today’s understanding of events, would have probably been sentenced to manslaughter rather than murder. If anyone has any recollections from family or friends about this, I would be interested to hear from you.

egg tempera
Warm ochres for Eccleshall brickwork

Back to the drawing! I always mix up a range of red and yellow ochres and get started with the brickwork once the pen and ink underdrawing is done. I work in thin washes building up the colour so I can get subtle variety in the brickwork.

egg tempera in red and yellow ochre
Applying thin washes of paint to build up colour
red and yellow ochres on Eccleshall brickwork
Warming up the brickwork colours on 14 (right) -22 (left) Stafford Street
Stafford street Eccleshall
Street taking shape in colour
No 8 Stafford Street
Bowcock and Pursaill, solicitors at No 8

I will close on a small finished section of the drawing featuring No 8, Stafford Street. This is now home to Bowcock and Pursaill, solicitors. I smiled when I looked at the 1871 census as I thought it was appropriate that a launderess named Rebecca Bradbury,  once lived here. I am sure she spent her life seeing it all come out in the wash.

Thanks for reading

Ronnie

 

A Stately Stoke Terrace

Pen and ink drawing of Fenton, artwork by Ronnie Cruwys
Corner of Hitchman Street and Victoria Road, Fenton, Stoke-on-Trent

Hitchman Street holds some interesting connections for me. When I first saw this red brick terrace, I was on my way to to deliver a framed print of an Audlem street to Williams of Audlem. Not knowing anything about the terraces in Fenton, I looked them up when I got home.

I was surprised to find that the land that these houses were built on was purchased in 1765 by the architect William Baker of Audlem. William Baker (‘the first’ as there were a few more to follow) bought ‘the estate and manor of Fenton Culvert, together with pottery, for his second son William Baker II’ (extract from Stoke Council’s conservation area appraisal). However, it was some generations later when William Meath Baker, the great grandson of the first William, commissioned these terraces. It’s all explained in the conservation appraisal.

William Meath Baker had inherited the Baker Pottery nearby and built these houses (and many others) to provide accommodation on a philanthropic model for the workers associated with the Baker Pottery.

red brick terrace in Fenton Stoke on Trent drawn by artist Ronnie Cruwys
Hitchman Street, Fenton

The Baker Pottery has gone now, but the kilns remain.

victoria-road-baker-kilns-fenton
Baker Pottery Kilns visible from Victoria Road
Pen and ink drwing of Victorian terracotta tile rosettes
Another example of the terracotta tiles on the gables.

Looking up these old threads, it never fails to unearth other connections. When I worked as a conservation architect in Stafford, I spent ten years as part of the team looking after the repair and upkeep of the grade 1 listed Chillington Hall, the south wing which was designed by Francis Smith of Warwick in 1724. Francis Smith was the celebrity architect of the Midlands in his day and it turns out that one of Smith’s pupils was the young William Baker of Audlem, learning from the master.

I’d like to think that an appreciation of good design has been passed down the generations. It certainly¬† shows up here in these terraces.

To see the drawings in full as well as a few more tile sketches, please visit www.drawingthestreet.co.uk

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie

 

Fetch a bucket – quick!

This is a flashback to a drawing I did last year following a wintery visit to the walled gardens at Keele. I was slowed down at the time by a few fractures but wanted to record the bothies as soon as I first saw them.

This is just a drawing post today – so hope you enjoy the sketches, all done with Dr Martin’s Bombay waterproof ink, three colours, sepia, terracotta and teal.

1 Keele Bothies Cruwys crop1Pen and ink drawing of Bothies at keele

4 Keele Bothies.jpgKeele Bothies A thumb.jpg

5 Keele BothiesTo see the drawing in full, please visit my website Drawing the Street

Thanks for reading!

Ronnie

Dorset House and Southwark Bridge

pen and ink on Khadi paper
Dorset House, Holloway Road

I have returned to drawing Holloway Road, the Great North Road – and paused to draw Dorset House in more detail. It caught my eye as it is quite small compared with its neighbours yet with a few faded classical details, it quietly holds its own.

Here it is in context with its neighbours:

photo of Dorset House
Dorset House on the Holloway Road

I have tried to find out a little bit of the history of the building but not got very far until today perhaps…

We have been down to London to join today’s walk in support of Crohns and Colitis UK. The walk takes place every June, and around a thousand supporters walk through the City as a fundraiser and to raise awareness of this disease.

crohns and Colitis
South Bank -Walking for Crohns and Colitis in London 2015

Walking has a lot in common with drawing as it allows you the time and space to enjoy details in the landscape and architecture you might otherwise miss. In this picture, we are walking along South Bank towards Southwark Bridge and you can just make out its trident lamposts above a band of green; here’s part of the bridge in detail:

balustrading details
Southwark Bridge details of balustrading

Having only just finished drawing Dorset House, I immediately recognised the balustrade detailing and couldn’t help but wonder if it is by the the same architect. looking at the plaque, I see that Sir Ernest George designed this bridge.

ernest george RA Architect
Sir Ernest George, RA Architect, opened 6th June 1921

I love finding little details like this. If you know anything about this architect, or Dorset House, I would be delighted to hear from you.

dorset house
Finished drawing of Dorset House

Thanks for reading.

Ronnie

 

Holloway Road: drawing a section of the Great North Road

Pen and ink drawing of Albermaarle Mansions Holloway Road
The fantastic windows of Albermarle Mansions, Holloway Road, London.

This post is dedicated to my new Twitter Buddies: @The Hornsey Road @Holloway Life @RuthRobinsonLon and AmySmith@Art_Press – a lively bunch!

Walking out of our son’s home on Windsor Road one day last year, I turned right to nip to the corner shop. It wasn’t until I stood at the crossing on my return, that I looked up to take in the sight of Albermarle Mansions. These buildings stand on what is the Great North Road, an old coaching route from London to York and up to Edinburgh. Follow this road into York and you will go past my old school on Blossom Street, through Micklegate Bar and down Micklegate, another York street which I have begun to sketch. I went on to University in Edinburgh so I am curious to know the exact route of the Great North Road. I have sent off for a book on this subject by Frank Morley – so more on this another time.

Photo of Holloway Road Albermarle Mansions
Looking along Holloway Road towards Albermarle Mansions

Back to Holloway Road. I began with a few sketches of the windows which I shared on social media. Much to my delight I had some more feedback from @TheHornseyRoad with a glimpse into life here over a century ago. There must be more insights into the former life of these buildings – if you know anything, I would love to hear from you.

pen and Ink drawing of Holloway Road
Drawing out Holloway Road in pen and sepia ink

One of the reasons that I like to draw full length street scenes is to show buildings in context to illustrate what happens when good but ordinary buildings disappear and they are replaced with buildings of a completely different scale and proportion.

Much as I love old buildings, I do love well designed new buildings too, but know only too well how hard it is for architects to see their great ideas watered down to meet budgets. It is interesting to see how the oldest buildings (Kale Food Centre) have been dwarfed over the course of the century by the most recent bookend ‘Bloomfield Court’.

Pen and ink drawing with egg tempera colour
Applying the first wash of colour to Holloway Road
Fun part last - adding colour!
Fun part last – adding colour!
drawing of Manor Gardens Bus stop P
Manor Gardens, Bus Stop ‘P’ on a rainy busy morning late Autumn.
pen and ink architectural drawing of Holoway road
Terraced buildings on Holloway Road, pre-1894 on the corner of Windsor Road.
Bus stop P Manor Gardens Drawing of Holloway Road
Bus Stop P, Manor gardens, Holloway Road

I will be scanning the drawing and adding it in full to my website next week and will also be running off a limited edition set of fine art prints. Watch this space and thanks for reading!

Ronnie Cruwys

www.drawingthestreet.co.uk

For anyone on social media, I post more photos of work in progress on Instagram ‘ronniecruwys’ and on twitter @RonnieCruwys.