Category Archives: Newcastle-under-Lyme History

Old Maxims Disco Diva

Maxims ghost view small
The former Maxims night club, a ghost of its former self, with St Giles’s church tower behind

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I’ve been working on this drawing in my local class taught by David Brammeld. It was only when I began this drawing that I discovered that one of my classmates was a regular Maxims  disco diva at this legendary night spot! It used to be known as the ‘Place Mate’ when it was owned by the same proprietors as ‘The Place‘ in nearby Hanley where disco was born and David Bowie and Led Zeppelin once played as pop youngsters.

However, when the dual carriageway was constructed around Newcastle-under-Lyme, Maxims was severed from the life blood of the town centre and now all that is left are these empty shells.

Maxims Buildings 2014.JPG

I wouldn’t have given these buildings much thought if it hadn’t been for the comments given by Moya when I displayed some of my drawings in Newcastle Library a few years ago:

Stand with your back to St Giles. Look across the dual carriageway to what used to be Maxim’s Night Club. This used to be the old Catholic Club and overspill rooms for St Marys School.  Also, it was the Old Pomona pub. When they took Evans sweet factory down behind it, they discovered that there was a courtyard and it had been a coaching Inn….Sammy Bell’s pottery was excavated in the car park/ courtyard area. The base of the Kiln is in the grounds of Newcastle Museum...’

The gloomy front masks a surprising gable window behind with a mosaic of pottery fragments.

Maxims round the back 1 Cruwys sm
The building is considered to date back to the mid-1600’s

From local records, it was bought by Samuel Bell in 1724 for £156 who set up a potworks there and then in 1729, took  out a patent for ‘Agate Ware’.

back of Maxims Night club NUL

Not knowing these buildings, I walked around the back and peered through the hoardings which now surround the site. I was so surprised by what I saw that I thought they were definitely worth recording as part of my street records. However, a flat elevation wasn’t going to give any idea of the complexity of the roofs and layout so I opted for a sketch perspective instead.

I used Dr Martin’s Payne’s Grey ink on a sheet of  Khadi cotton rag paper, a heavy, textured and grainy paper – lovely to draw on.

Maxims black and white small
Back of the former Maxim’s buildings

There are plans underway for a new use for these buildings but it’s unlikely that they will remain in this organic sprawl for much longer. I would be interested to hear of any other insights into the history of these buildings.

maxims colour added 2.jpg
Drawing almost finished.

Thanks for the comments Moya and thank you for reading.

Ronnie

 

English Kitchen, Brunswick Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme

No 7 Brunswick Street, The English Kitchen

English Kitchen
No 7 Brunswick Street

I’m back from a wonderful family gathering and one of the first jobs on my list was to MOT my car. I popped the car into the garage but this time, packed my pens and sketchbook as there is a building close by that I have wanted to draw for quite some time.

No 7 Brunswick street stands out as a reminder of what was once a street of elegant town houses. The building next door is shrouded in scaffolding at present but the English Kitchen was just the right size for me to complete in one hit, standing with my back to Jubilee Pool.

First and second floor of 7 Brunswick Street
Look up!

Thanks to my friends who have encouraged me to get out there and draw – I completed the line drawing on the street and applied the colour at home. Here is the final sketch. Thanks for reading!

Pen and ink sketch of 7 Brunswick St
No 7 Brunswick Street in full technicolour!

 

 

Mellard Warehouse is looking good!

This post is dedicated to the lads at Miller Heritage – hats off to you gentlemen!

REPAIR OF MELLARD WAREHOUSE, MARKET LANE, NEWCASTLE-UNDER-LYME

From the first floor of ‘Pockets’ you can see a narrow gap on the south side of the Ironmarket. It’s easy to miss but this is Market Lane and it leads down towards the bus station on Hassell Street.

View from Pockets
View from Pockets

Once on Market Lane, it is also quite easy to walk past what has been up until 2013, a tumble-down warehouse, dating from around the late nineteenth century.

Mellards Warehouse before work began photo by Midlands Heritage
Mellards Warehouse before work began
photo by Midlands Heritage
Mellards from Market Lane
Mellards from Market Lane

However, it is worth taking a minute’s detour to take in the transformation, the difference is remarkable.  You can now see that this is a handsome old warehouse, with its subtle mix of Staffordshire red and blue bricks laid in English bond, a pattern favoured industrially during the Victorian period, with blue engineering brick arched lintols and stepped cills.

Mellards Warehouse
Mellards Warehouse

Thanks to the combined efforts of the owner (my apologies, I dont have your name), a grant through the NUL Town Centre Partnership Scheme , CTD Architects Leek and the Main Contractor, Miller Heritage of Wolverhampton, this building has a new lease of life.  The work has been recognised by a Civic Award . Congratulations!

Side view
Side view

Here’s wishing the building and future occupants every success and let’s hope that the view down Market Lane will soon be full of life, colour and activity.

Mellards Warehouse Side elevation
Mellards Warehouse Side elevation
Mellards Warehouse Market Lane
Mellards Warehouse Market Lane
Loading the skip
Loading the skip
'You are having a laugh!'
‘You are having a laugh!’
We won't all fit in there!
We won’t all fit in there!

Take a look at this link to see just how far this building has come. Thanks for reading!

http://www.midlandsheritage.co.uk/industrial/276-disused-warehouse-newcastle-under-lyme.html

For more drawings, visit www.drawingthestreet.co.uk

Ironmarket in Winter is all yours!

If you have been one of the people to visit the Drawing the Street exhibition, my wholehearted thanks! I have been very moved by the continuous flow of positive comments. These drawings have entailed endless hours of work and to read how well they have been received has been a wonderful vote of confidence in what I began a year ago this month. I hope to respond to each of your comments in turn via email or the blog pages.

It is evident that Newcastilians are most enthusiastic about their town and its history! The centrepiece drawing ‘Ironmarket in Winter’ has been enjoyed by so many of you that I have decided to donate the original to the library to keep it in the public domain. I would love to hear any thoughts or memories of the old Ironmarket and town centre so I can build up a living history alongside the drawings. I have come across a strong community spirit here in Newcastle, it would be good to draw some of it together through this website.

Ironmarket in winter - extract
Ironmarket in winter – extract

I will retain the copyright of the drawing and a number of prints (of all my drawings) are being sold through Newcastle Library, the Borough Museum and Art Gallery and directly from me. I will get a price list together in my next web update, but if you are thinking about a print for a Christmas gift, do get in touch with me as soon as you can by email RonnieCruwys@drawingthestreet.co.uk or phone  07966 230909.

Coming soon…. gift box sets of ten best quality postcards of ‘Ironmarket in Summer’. There is a limited pre-Christmas launch of 100 sets, so if you would like me to reserve a set, please drop me an email. 

The forecast is stormy but I am very excited by my week ahead. Tomorrow I begin my three year Icon Diploma course in Moele Brace, and have just set up a new blog site for anyone interested in following what I will be learning from Aidan Hart, one of the UK’s leading Iconographers (www.icondiplomastudent.wordpress.com).

Then, next Saturday afternoon, 2nd November,   I set up my first two week exhibition for Drawing the Street.  If you live in Newcastle-under-Lyme, please come along as I hope to have some of my better Newcastle drawings up for you to see, but you can be the judge of them! It will be up until 16th November.

I must add here a couple of ‘thank yous’. One to Terry at Jollies Arts & Crafts for helping me to assemble the frame for ‘Ironmarket in Winter’ – it isn’t easy to frame a 2.7m drawing. Another to Kevin at ‘I wis Framed’ in Stoke, who has been damping and weighing down some of my buckled cartridge paper ready for framing.

I’m also still recovering from the news that my ’Ironmarket in Summer’ was awarded a prize by the Friends of the Borough Museum and Art Gallery.  I was truly delighted with this news! Thanks to the Friends and the Gallery.

Third Prise awarded by the friends of the Borough Museum & Art gallery
Third Prize awarded by the Friends of the Borough Museum & Art gallery

I have been getting my work printed with Smith York printers in Ironbridge and gradually trying out different methods and papers so that I can have a range of prints available to buy. Please note that when any work is displayed in a gallery, there is a commission to include but it all helps the economy. I also would like to add that quality and sustainability is really important to me and this is reflected in my choice of suppliers.

I look forward to seeing some of you up at the library.

Ironmarket in Summer

Ironmarket in Summer

This is a section from my ‘Ironmarket in Summer’ drawing. The geraniums in the planters and begonias in the hanging baskets all looked so vibrant that I decided to do a 60% reduced size summer version of my original 2.8m long winter drawing to submit to the Borough Museum and Art Gallery’s open exhibition. This time, I applied all the tips picked up in Dave Brammeld’s drawing classes and used a heavier 300gsm watercolour paper. Most of the composition is in black and white, technical drawing pens Rotring .25 and .18 nibs, with Sumi ink wash. Colour highlights on flowers, windows and sky in egg tempera.
The drawing has been selected and will be shown in this years exhibition.