Tag Archives: Architecture

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

Hello! A warm welcome and thank you to recently subscribed drawing enthusiasts.

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

 

Eccleshall people bringing life to the street

1People of Eccleshall
A few quick pencil sketches of Eccleshall people before inking on to paper

Whenever I draw a street scene, I like to include the people who are around at the time. This has become just as important as recording the buildings as it’s the people who bring the street to life.

1a Eccleshall from Buttons to Valentinos.jpg
Work in progress on the next stage of Eccleshall High Street

Although I already had a few photos of people, I put a call out on social media to invite volunteers from Eccleshall to step on to my latest drawing of the High Street by sending me a photo of themselves or friends along this part of the street.

I was delighted when the photographer Caroline Burley sent me a selection of photos of figures striding out between ‘Valentins’ and ‘& Buttons’. Thanks Caroline! I will leave you to figure out who’s who, but here are the line drawings – almost ready for the colour wash.

2 56 High St Eccleshall Valentino sq

3 Angela Pearly Smith Eccleshall
 Angela ‘Pearly’ Smith…from Gallery at 12 
4 Caroline Burley
Photographer Caroline – classically framed!
5 Man and dog eccleshall
Walking the spaniel
6 Sean Hirst Flowers
Armed with Sean Hirst Flowers

7 Leaning man and man on bike eccleshall

Josh crop march 2016 a
My new assistant Josh, fresh from the North Staffs RSPCA shelter on Monday.

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

 

Piebury Corner to London Coffee Club

 

Holloway Road Ronnie Cruwys terrace
Fine old red brick Victorian terrace on Holloway Road from George’s St to Zee Zee’s

Back on the Holloway Road – a short post to share the last drawing of 2015.

3 underpaining holloway rd
Underpainting in blue permanent ink – a change from the usual sepia
205 to 261 Holloway Road cargo Cruwys 1
Piebury Corner to Dorset House
dorset house
Dorset House drawn as a one-off during the summer
205 to 261 Holloway Road cargo Cruwys 2.jpg
George’s Road up to Paddy Power, Holloway Road

 

205 to 261 Holloway Road cargo Cruwys 3
Paddy Power to Zee Zee, Holloway Road
205 to 261 Holloway Road cargo Cruwys4
Zee Zee’s to London Coffee Club, Holloway Road

Drawing shown in full on www.drawingthestreet.co.uk

Thanks for reading,

Ronnie

Every Picture Tells a (short) Story

Now my story begins
Stoke Station. Are you sitting comfortably?

Getting back in the groove can be an effort, but it’s always helped by a brew. It’s been a while since I wrote here but it’s time to return to the sketch book. I have had 10th October 2015 in the diary for some time as it is the first #ArchitectureDrawingDay, set up by the RIBA as part of The Big Draw.

This year’s theme for the Big Draw is ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’. I packed my pencil case and took off to London to draw a few more sights on the Holloway Road, the old A1, that Great North Road.

No better sight at Euston, than the 253 which heads out to Nags Head:

pen and ink drawing of 253 bus
Hop on the 253 bus at Euston Station
pen and ink sketches
Quick wobbly thumbnail bus stop sketches from the top of the No 253 to Hackney Central
pen and ink drawing London
A window, a carved flower on a stone detail
sketches form the bus
More bites of bus stops

Hopped off the bus at the Nag’s Head and found  a bench free opposite this lovely frontage. The sun was out, so I pitched up to draw.

Boots Chemist Holloway road
414 Holloway Road, the building above Boots the Chemist

A few hours later, I made my way down the road for a bite to eat where I could continue drawing outside but under awnings. Had a tasty lunch at Constolia – and drew this domed character opposite. I have no idea about its history – have you? I would love to hear from you if you can shed some light on the building.

View from Highbury Corner, Holloway
View from Highbury Corner, Holloway

Festac nightclub and Holloway Mosque sit below this red brick and stone building – for an intriguing insight into this hot-spot corner of the Holloway Road, have a read of Islington Now .

Then, only a few hours later and it’s time to go home. This time back on the number 29 bus.

thumbnail sketches
Home run bus stops
pub man chatting
Cahtting man having a cigarette outside a pub in Camden

Thats all for now. I will say goodbye with the back of a very fine London bus.

Been such a tonic to spend the day with #ArchitectureDrawingDay.

london bus
Back of the snappily designed Heatherwick Bus

Thanks for reading

Ronnie

Gallery at 12, Eccleshall

It has been quite a month. Apart from finishing off a few more drawings in between a few fun family events, quite a lot has been happening.

drawings of eccleshall, Micklegate, Keele walled gardens
A few drawings more

First of all, a big thank you to Paul at the Stone and Eccleshall Gazette who found my work on the web and then gave me a fab introduction to Eccleshall with his generous write up. This has been so timely and I really appreciate this vote of confidence. It was published just as I had placed the first framed print of Eccleshall High Street on the wall of Gallery at 12.

stone and eccleshall gazette
Paul’s generous write up in the Stone and Eccleshall Gazette.

Just before this happened, my Instagram site (@ronniecruwys) took off.  I have been posting work-in-progress photos  for the last 9 months and have been using hashtags to connect with other artists interested in the same subjects, for instance #Eccleshall or #Drawing #Architecture. It has been great to connect with people all over the world and share stages of my work in progress. One drawing (of Audlem) got reposted on to another site and within 2 days had over 30,000 likes. Crikey. Meanwhile, Stone Road Eccleshall is getting a respectable response too.

Screen grab of stone Road Eccleshall drawing work in progress
Instagram approves of the Stone Road

I would also like to give a big vote of thanks to my new Instagram buddies @carolineiam @daveh500 @eddequincey for pointing me in the direction of Gallery at 12, where I have since become a member, and for giving me such enthusiastic support!

What’s more, I actually met @carolineiam last night in Eccleshall, in one of those wonderful moments of serendipity!

So, back to the Eccleshall drawing.

This is now scanned and on the website www.drawingthestreet.co.uk if you want to see it full length.

 

Starting with the grade 2 listed building home to Wyn’s and the old Sweet Shoppe:

Eccleshall  high Street
Katherine House, Eccleshall Pharmacy, Wine Etc, Spencers, the old Sweet Shoppe and Wyns
Eccleshall the old sweet shoppe and Wynns
Close up of the old Sweet Shoppe and Wyns

No 2, on the corner is early C19.

Next along is the Arcade, home of Eccleshall’s artists’ co-operative, Gallery at 12 and the lovley coffee shop The Artisan.

pen and ink drawing of gallery at 12 Eccleshall
The Artisan, The Arcade with Gallery at 12, Eclipse and Little Monsters
gallery at 12
A glimpse into Gallery at 12, High Street, Eccleshall, with my first few small sized prints up.
clock at james du pavey
Quick sketch over coffee at the Artisan last Saturday – Clock outside James du Pavey

 

the Bell Eccleshall
No 24, a grade 2 listed building, Eccleshall Library, Francesco Hair group and The Bell listed grade 2, Eccleshall
drawing of Star Pizza and London House
Star Pizza,  London House and Nisa

British Listed Buildings Online is a great resource for the history of our streets. The building to the right of London House is listed grade 2, early C19. London House is also listed grade 2, and probably late C17 or early C18.

I do plan to continue with drawings of Eccleshall so please follow this blog if you would like to be kept up to date – or over on Instagram.  Thanks for reading.

Ronnie (@ronniecruwys)

 

 

Tyburn and the Spirits of Micklegate, York

Colour over micklegate drawing
Laying the first washes of colour in egg tempera and natural pigments over Micklegate

I have been drawn back to the Great North Road, this time up in York. The Roman road from London can be traced closely beneath the present day A64, entering York just a little north of Blossom Street and Micklegate and neatly illustrated on the British History Online website (scroll down on the link site for the map).

bike shed drawing york
Bike Shed and S.o.t.a. Hairdressing on Micklegate

I mentioned in an earlier post that I went to school in York and Micklegate was my cycle route into town. Of course, much has changed and I see that the first building on the street is now occupied by Bike Shed, hopefully ready to greet the forthcoming Tour de Yorkshire. Brilliant! I will be there in the crowds again this year.

drawing of Micklegate
Heaven Scent and Portfolio, Micklegate

Micklegate is a long street and this drawing is only about a third of one side but I have discovered that there are seven Grade I, 26 Grade II* and 117 Grade II listed buildings in Micklegate alone!

leo drawing
Detail: Warm glow of Heaven Scent with a basking Leo

Having made a great journey north himself, my father would often speak of the ancient roads in and around the city and how in the past, convicts would have been taken from York Castle prison along Micklegate, then Blossom Street and out along what is now the A64 to Tyburn, on the Knavesmire. Dad had been given a very old book ‘the Criminal Chronology of York Castle‘ which is a register of all those unfortunate souls executed at Tyburn since 1379 with many awful insights into life and death within the city. Dad passed the book on to me and it’s a sobering read.

Events don’t seem so long ago when I think that most of these buildings would have been extant on ‘Saturday 6th March 1761, when Ann Richmond, a fine young girl, was executed at Tyburn Without Micklegate Bar, for setting fire to a stack and barn belonging to her mistress’. The buildings on Micklegate would have been some of the last that she saw.

Micklegate
Curtain Up  and Brigantes.  My parents John and Mary Sharp with our old dog Arran looking in the window of Brigantes

I got lost in thought whilst drawing Micklegate. I kept thinking of my parents, John and Mary Sharp (nee O’Donoghue), who lived in York for over 50 years and I took the liberty of drawing them in, looking into Brigantes window – which incidentally is the name of a Celtic Romano tribe – apt for my English dad and Irish mum. Our much loved old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Arran is included, no shadows of course!

spirits of Micklegate
detail: Mum, Dad and our recalcitrant old Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retreiver – Arran

Micklegate holds many names which have gone – the Blake Head is one that I really do miss when I visit York. I don’t like seeing buildings unused so it is great to hear that this is now home to the BlueBird Bakery and the Rattle Owl. With great names like that, I hope they go a long way – best of luck to you!

Blake Head gallery
Wonderful book shop and cafe – sadly long gone
micklegate york
DW hair and Army careers recruitment.  The Rattle Owl and Bluebird Bakery in the former Blake Head Bookshop site.

I gather from the York Press that ‘Plans have also been submitted to the council to excavate the cellar of the property which is believed to be sitting on top of a Roman road, with hopes of incorporating it into the current building design and allowing it to be displayed.’ Exciting! Look forward to hearing more of this!

drawing of York nags head
Nags head, Coles Solicitors, Rumours

Micklegate House (c1752) below, was the former town house of the Bourchiers of Beningbrough.

grade 1 Micklegate house drawing
Micklegate House, grade 1 listed, flanked by grade 2* listed builidngs

The drawing stops at the point where it meets Barker Lane, hopefully to be continued. To see all the drawing scanned in full length, please visit www.drawingthestreet.co.uk

Limited edition prints will soon be available at Blossom Street Gallery and Framing. Please email me directly and I will happily reserve one for you. A small number will be available to buy from me directly.

Thanks for reading.

Ronnie ronniecruwys@drawingthestreet.co.uk

Urban Distance at the Atom Gallery N4

Pen and ink drawing of Bathurst Mansion and Hollywood Bistros
Bathurst Mansions and Hollywood Bistro, Holloway Road corner with Seven Sisters Road

Thanks to my Holloway twitter buddies, @RuthRobinsonLon, @TheHornseyRoad, @HollowayLife and in particular Mark Perronet @AtomGalleryN4, prints of some of my Holloway Road drawings are now up on display in the Atom Gallery, Stroud Green Road, London N4. It’s a five minute walk from Finsbury Park tube station.

drawing of Albermarle Mansions
Albermarle Mansions, Holloway Road, N7 (Limited edition print run of 50)

This is a terrific moment for me as my drawings will be on display alongside some exciting contemporary artists including Marc Gooderham, Oliver Yu Chan, Alex Mulder and Helen Brough.

detailed view of Bathurst Mansions
Bathurst Mansions, detail.

The exhibition opens tonight and runs until 4th April 2015. I really wish I could be there but I am grounded with three pelvic fractures, a fractured drawing arm and a chipped elbow. All my own doing as I fell on our own doorsteps, in broad daylight and stone cold sober!

Good luck to everyone showing at the Atom Gallery and thanks Mark, for this wonderful opportunity.

Oh, and yes the sky is blue over Holloway.

photo of Bathurst Mansions
Blue skies over Holloway

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.

Drawing Eccleshall, Staffordshire

Stone Road Eccleshall, pen and ink stage
Stone Road Eccleshall, pen and ink stage

Some months ago, I began drawing out the bones of Stone Road, in Eccleshall, Staffordshire. This is an architectural gem of a market town, packed full of Georgian and Victorian buildings.

All the streets I choose to draw have some personal meaning for me. This part of the Stone Road sits opposite Eccleshall Police Station, a tiny spot which is engraved in my memory…Some years ago, my husband got knocked off his bike whilst out cycling nearby. He was whisked off to A&E and lived to tell the tale but his bike ended up in Eccleshall police station where I later went to collect it. Of course I was really upset about the bumped bike but what really cheered me up was the sight of this elegant row of cottages.

Stone road Eccleshall
Row of Georgian cottages in Eccleshall, Staffordshire, part of the conservation area.

I will write more about this on another day but thought I would let you know that work is in progress on this delightful Staffordshire market town.

egg tempera wash on Stone Road
First wash of colour using egg tempera – English Red Light and English Ochre

This is a work in progress picture taken this evening. Just an idea of what is on the drawing board as well as my drawings along the Holloway Road.

Plenty more drawings of Eccleshall in the pipeline….thanks for reading!

  • Ronnie
Pencil drawing of Eccleshall High Street
Pencil sketch of Eccleshall High Street