Category Archives: Burslem Heritage

Shake a leg for #sot2021

sketch of feet in Stoke on Trent
Feet up Hanley Duck

Funny how waiting in a queue is now something I enjoy. There’s always something to draw. I started with one foot, then a bit of leg then another…

Back to this month. I’ve had a great time sketching in Burslem, the mother town of the Potteries,  starting with this one of Market Place, one of the streets which I’ve already drawn formally a few years ago which you can see here.

urban sketch of the Leopard Burslem
Post Office (new-ish) and the Leopard, Burslem

Good to see the repairs on the Post Office by Horsley Huber Architects looking nicely weathered in.

I then moved down to St John’s Square to sketch the New Inn.

sketch by ronnie Cruwys of New Inn Burslem
New Inn, Market Place, Burslem.

This Bank Holiday Monday the town burst into life with its summer festival “Our Burslem Unites

Stoke Urban Sketchers got together for the event and to enjoy capturing the flavour of the day. Here are a few of mine.

sketch of Burslem School of Art from the Wedgwood Institute
Looking out from those big Wedgwood Doors

urban sketch of burslem

fun and games in Burslem
Fun and Games on the Corner of Queen Street
Burslem Unites urban sketch ronnie cruwys
Hook a Duck – a prize every time

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie

Recharging the Batteries

Church Stretton jan 2017 a.jpg
Church Stretton, Shropshire

Plans for January to be a time of taking stock of where I’m going and all that have gone out the window! Instead I’m treating it as a time to recharge the batteries.

We went for a great leg stretch up on the Long Mynd a week into the New Year which helped me recover form some cold bug (too long spent sketching in the cold in Hanley!) when I did the above sketch in Church Stretton whilst Iain went and had a look in a bike shop.

Christmas was fab but we had to say cheerio to our much loved old girl Nina shortly after. She almost made it to 14 years.

Nina, our Chesapeake Bay retreiver, sunbathing
Nina, our Chesapeake Bay retreiver, sunbathing

It’s a quiet house without a dog  (first time in 18 years) – although noticeably cleaner!

Then last Saturday afternoon it was really lovely to meet up with some sketching enthusiasts in Middleport Potteries, as I joined the Stoke branch of Urban Sketchers sketching in and around the buildings.

Middleport Pottery sketch.jpg

pottery-molds

Canadian Pine.jpg
Met up with Paul and Mandy of The Canadian Pine Company – thanks for your hospitality!

Middleport is famous for its Burleighware, those rich deep blue and white pots – we have a jug at home which my sister bought for me – like this one:

Anne's Burleighware Jug.jpg

Thanks for reading and wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2017.

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

A nasty old Square for Bears

St Johns west edit small crop
St John’s Square, Burslem

Bear-baiting, bull-baiting and cock-fighting were once popular sports in St John’s Square, Burslem, shown above, fresh off my drawing board.  Residents of perhaps one or two of these buildings would have had a prime view on a Sunday morning, when these activities were likely to happen. All banned by law in 1837, thank goodness.

 

Market Place south Jpeg smaller file
Little clues of the past remaining on the walls of Market Passage, Burslem, just around the corner.

Interesting clues of what went on remain in place and pub names though.

St Johns west edit small vale Curry.jpg

 

 

There’s a great old photo of the square which predates the arrival of the red brick building above ‘New Era’ Barbers shop, with the gable and brickwork bearing the date 1884.

St Johns west edit 1 crop 2b

It looks like a thatched cottage stood here before this building

Thanks to the sharing of local history and photographs by Burlem enthusiasts in Facebook groups ‘Middleport Memories‘ and ‘Our Burslem‘, this intriguing photo from a book ‘Images of England Burslem, shows what still remains.

12471864_10153845891189841_5422688558101704738_o
From the book ‘Images of England – Burslem’ (see link above

I love discovering little bits of our history and thank you Geoff Barnett, for introducing me to the world of Burslem. Before I sign off, I was chatting about this drawing to Terry Hunt in Jollies Art Shop, Newcastle-under-Lyme. It turns out he was once the landlord of the Duke William!

So this post is for Geoff and for Terry.

St Johns west edit small Duke William

And here’s Terry outside his shop on Liverpool Road. Good to see that my drawings have got a bit more colourful over the last couple of years.

Jollies Terry Hunt
Terry, former landlord of ‘Duke William‘, outside Jollies Art shop, Newcastle-under-Lyme.

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