Category Archives: Burslem conservation

And the Sixth town is Fenton

Fenton is one of the six towns of the Potteries, Stoke-on Trent. It’s the one that wasn’t included in the writing by Arnold Bennett. Many of you will know that Stoke is currently in the run up towards the bid for the City of Culture 2021 so I thought I could play a small part and share some of the architecture of the Sixth Town that may fall under the radar.

pencil sketch of architecture in fenton Stoke on trent
Sketching out brick and tiled gables on Victoria Road, Fenton

Driving along Victoria Road, Fenton last year, a row of dark red brick houses caught my eye and I pulled over to take a better look. It turns out that there’s quite a surprising tale of connections for me behind the history of these buildings but more on that next time.

So, fresh from the drawing board, some work in progress pictures of Victoria Road in the Hitchman Street Conservation area, Fenton.

This is a row of terraced houses built on a philanthropic model for pottery workers towards the end of the 19th century. There is a comprehensive write up about the history of the conservation area here.

Look closely at the gables and there are some wonderful terracotta tile patterns.

The thought that has gone into the design of the fronts is consistent, balanced and although intricate, it all adds up to a really attractive terrace.

pen and ink drawing of Fenton Stoke on Trent
                            Ink on paper underway on 36 and 38 Victoria Road.                                           

Back to the drawing now and more about this next time.

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie

An iconic kind of door

 

drawing of wedgwood institute
Detail above entrance to the Wedgwood Institute

There’s many a fine building in Bonny Burslem but none with an entrance quite like the one into the Wedgwood Institute.

I recently finished the Wedgwood drawing which I began a few months ago. I picked up the pencil for this one having been influenced some time ago by a poster I bought of the entrance to the Natural History Museum, London, by Alfred Waterhouse.

poster of Natural History Museum
Entrance to the Natural History Museum

I bought and framed this poster when I was an architecure student and it’s now on the wall of our son’s flat, an architectural student, thirty+ years later! I still love the drawing and this is what made me choose to spend some time on the Wedgwood entrance with its intricate tile and terracotta details.

red and yellow ochres for brickwork and terracotta
Terracotta details in the wall of the Wedgood Institute
Terracotta tiles and masonry details next to wedgwood institute
Coat of arms on the side of the Wedgwood Institute

I’ve used traditional pigments with gum arabic on some very heavy (600 gsm) hot pressed watercolour paper. I really like the combination of the warm French and English Ochres, against the bright green malachite and azurite. I’m also hooked on using the pigment called ‘Caput Mortuum‘ – it seems to end up on quite a few of my icons!

It has been a treat to pause and spend time on a small part of a street but it only makes me want to zoom in further and pick up on the terracotta work. This is quite a rich subject which I may explore in future having been sidetacked by some of the tiles in Newcastle under Lyme.

tile details
Collage of terracotta tiles from a building in Newcastle-under-Lyme
drawing of wedgwood door
The final drawing of the Wedgwood Institute door

For more info and to order or stock prints from a small limited edition run, please have a look at my website or email me at RonnieCruwys@drawingthestreet.co.uk

Thanks for reading.

Ronnie

From Congo to Burslem

Wedgwood Institute Cruwys
Some of the intricate work above the entrance to the Wedgwood Institute, Burslem

Hello again! It’s been a while since I wrote but I’m into the last few months preparation for my final show for the icon diploma I’ve been working towards the last three years. All 12 icon students will have their work on show at the Prince’s Drawing School in Shoreditch, in 18-21 October.

There’s still plenty of drawing going on alongside and I thought you might be interested to see some work in progress pics of an elaborate doorway in Burslem, the main entrance to the extraordinarily beautiful Wedgwood Institute, here in Staffordshire.

Pencil drawing on watercolour paper with ochre wash
First light washes of English and French ochres

Quoting from its website, the Wedgwood Institute is a ‘Mid-19th century site with important artistic detail, built by public funds for adult education’. It has been included on the English Heritage list of Buildings at Risk and in 2010 named as one of the top 10 most endangered Victorian buildings. However, its future is looking much more secure now that the Prince’s Regeneration Trust and the Burslem Regeneration Company have made a commitment to its long term restoration.

Back to the drawing. One of the things we’ve learnt on the icon course is how to make our own colour from minerals. I couldn’t resist using the minerals which I’d ground up for icons on this drawing as I’d bought the raw minerals from the Burslem Lapidary Shop, just around the corner from the Wedgwood Institute.

This is a fairly big drawing, approximately A1 size on a very smooth, heavy (500gsm) watercolour paper. I sized the paper with a light wash of  English Ochre pigment and gum arabic, then used French Ochre Havanna to build up the brick colour. I’ve gone for a softer drawing in pencil as I’m hoping to portray the intricate workmanship without it looking too heavy.

pencil drawing and ochre wash of the Wedgwood Institute
Using a mix of ochres for the brick and stonework.

There are tiles laid in a basket weave patterns, in terracotta, buff and a bright green which immediately made me think of using the ‘Burslem malachite’ with a little azurite, even though it’s actually mined in the Congo!

pencil drawing of the entrance to the Wedgwood Institute
Green, terracotta and buff tiles above the Wedgwood Institute, Burslem

Hope to post more as the rest progresses.

Thanks for reading!

Ronnie

 

 

 

Palladian and Diocletian to go please?

36 to 52 Market Place Burslem,
 Market Place, Burslem

KFC on Market Place Burslem must be proud of its Palladian and Diocletian windows. The description in the listing needs an architectual dictionary to translate but these 18th century windows must have been pretty well built to have survived this far and they have fared better than the kilns which once stood behind the building.

palladian and diocletian windows
Palladian (first floor) and Diocletian (second floor) windows

 

pen ink and egg tempera wash architectural drawings
India Cottage, the New Inn (c1832) and Ideal Homes, Market Place, Burslem
drawings of Market Place Burslem
Pearl Assurance House, John Keenan, Hog Noggin and KFC

This is only a short drawing but this part of Market Street frames the northern side of Fountain Place and lies quite close to St John’s Square. It could be quite easily overlooked but there are two listed grade 2 buildings at one end – Hog Noggin and KFC.

There are some interesting old Potteries photos which show how close this street was to the factory and kiln which once stood behind.  I would love to hear any insights into the history of these buildings. Please do get in touch and I will share it on the archive blog (Drawing the Detail).

KFC Hog Noggin John Keenan and KFC
Hog Noggin and KFC both 18th century and listed grade 2
John Keenan crop
John Keenan’s office, chartered surveyor.

Thanks for reading.

Ronnie

Burslem Regenerates

East end of Market Place, Burslem, south side
East end of Market Place, Burslem, south side

Just a short post this time as I am about to head off to a big family gathering. Thought you might like to see a few more drawings which I have completed and posted over on the main website www.drawingthestreet.co.uk.  I would be delighted if you would click over and have a look.

Before you head over, a few words about the Post Office on Market Place, Burslem, below. This was a project which the Burslem Regeneration Company and my former workplace, Horsley Huber Architects had a hand in reshaping together with the owner.

Although the reinstatement of the original window layout is a relatively small job in the building industry, I do have an idea of the background work that has gone on behind the scenes by all parties to make this happen, there is more than meets the eye!

That said, this building now looks so much better and you can really see the overall impact when you look at the street as a whole.

Burslem Post Office, the Leopard, Market Place
Post Office and the Leopard pub, Market Place, Burslem
Burslem Post Office before the conservation work began in June 2011
Burslem Post Office before the conservation work began in June 2011

Moving down towards the west end of Market Place, there is a narrow gap, Market Passage where there is a faded mural.

Burslem Bear Market Place
The Burslem Bear

I would never have noticed the Burslem Bear had I not drawn this! A sign of Burslem’s history…

the Burslem Bear
The Burslem Bear
Market Place, Burslem
Market Place, Burslem

That’s all for now, thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Burslem’s on the drawing board

Market Place North side small
Market Place, Burslem, North side

I have begun to draw up Market Place in Burslem. I took photographs on the most beautiful day last year and got a great welcome and a complimentary cup of coffee from the good ladies in Silver Coin Amusements, pictured below. As promised, they are on my drawing!

Silver Coin, Market Place, Burslem
Silver Coin, Market Place, Burslem

The black and white drawing above is shown so you can see work in progress. I have begun drawing the opposite side of Market Place and will add colour when both are complete.

I have also been overhauling my website -please do click on the link below to see the fledgling site.  I would welcome any feedback. Just let me know whether you can see the drawings on your computer ok – there  is so much for me to learn with all this.  I hope to get the new site and old name integrated in the next week or so. www.cargocollective.com/drawingthestreet