Saturday, 30 May 2009

East German Design

Again, thanks to Chaffe, for this link.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Robert Welch & Old Hall Tableware

Thanks to Tomas Chaffe for pointing out this tableware designed by Robert Welch for Old Hall in the West Midlands.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

David Mellor Cutlery

Not the plate - that's Denby - the cutlery, which is by Sheffield lad David Mellor. This is thanks to Albam and this obituary.

Monday, 25 May 2009


"Until the 1870s the only open space in the congested town was Woodhouse Moor”
S. Wetherall, 'Pevsner Architectural Guides: Leeds' (2005), p. 28.

“It’s highlight [of The University of Leeds] , and the core of the plan, is the Rodger Stevens Building (1967-70) containing communal lecture theatres whose design acted as a prototype for Chamberlin, Powell and Bon's Barbican theatre in London.”
S. Wetherall, 'Pevsner Architectural Guides: Leeds' (2005), p.34.

“Across the main axis is the E. C. Stoner Building, for physics, much the longest of the spine ranges; fourteen irregular bays long (mainly five stories high with vents); its elegance shows the hand of Geoffry Powell.”
S. Wetherall, 'Pevsner Architectural Guides: Leeds' (2005), p. 181.

“Across the main axis is the E. C. Stoner Building, for physics, much the longest of the spine ranges; fourteen irregular bays long (mainly five stories high with vents); its elegance shows the hand of Geoffry Powell.”
S. Wetherall, 'Pevsner Architectural Guides: Leeds' (2005), p. 181.

"In 1877, with Alfred Waterhouse's plans for Owen’s College Manchester, to hand, Yorkshire College appointed him as architect."
S. Wetherall, 'Pevsner Architectural Guides: Leeds' (2005), p. 176

"A fund raising campaign yielded only £20,000 of a hoped for £60,000 and building was made possible only by the munificence of the Clothworkers’ Company of London, anxious to improve the scientific basis of their industry after the Paris exhibition of 1861.”
S. Wetherall, 'Pevsner Architectural Guides: Leeds' (2005), p. 176

"...a limited competition was held in 1926 to bring belated civic dignity to the [university] institution… the winners were Lanchester, Lucas & Lodge. “
S. Wetherall, 'Pevsner Architectural Guides: Leeds' (2005), p.178

“To maintain a link between their expanding campus and the city, the University lobbied successfully for the sinking of a new inner ring road (in truth an inner city motorway), opened in 1964…”
S. Wetherall, 'Pevsner Architectural Guides: Leeds' (2005), p. 34

"The long awaited decision to provide the money for a tower was only made in 1856 as consequence in a growing pride in the building as it progressed and a realization, as it was claimed in the laying of the foundation stone, that it was going to be a display of 'the wealth and growing importance of the town'. At that time Leeds was actively campaigning to be appointed the West Riding Assize town, in opposition to the claims of Sheffield and Wakefield"
S. Wetherall, 'Pevsner Architectural Guides: Leeds' (2005), p. 63.

“…the Henry Moore Institute of 1993 by Jeremy Dixon and Edward Jones with BDP…dramatically refaced the gable end to Victoria Street with igneous rock with crenelated parapet and fissure like entrance passage.”
S. Wetherall, 'Pevsner Architectural Guides: Leeds' (2005), p. 166.

" of the most beautiful interiors in the city. T-plan, 394ft long, and glowing with exuberant decoration in marble, mosaic and Burmantofts faience, all symbols of the city's wealth and confidence."
S. Wetherall, 'Pevsner Architectural Guides: Leeds' (2005), p. 159.

Luis Vuitton shop.

"The central dome, over the crossing, dipicts figures representing Leeds' industries."
S. Wetherall, 'Pevsner Architectural Guides: Leeds' (2005), p. 159.

“…the well named Dark Arches, a line of mightily red brick groined vaults covering an access tunnel beneath the railway… The richly atmospheric gloom is animated by the sounds and smells of the Aire..”
S. Wetherall, 'Pevsner Architectural Guides: Leeds' (2005), p. 63.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Hello Little Car

Nissan Figaro

Fiat 500

Seat 850

Saturday, 16 May 2009

St Pancras

Origin & Fabric

In the 1960s, the historian Jack Simmons played an important role in the salvation of St Pancras Station through his extensive research. He wrote, “St Pancras was the child of the Midland Railway...the character, form and scale can be understood only in light of the company that built it”.[1] John Betjemn felt that Simmons’ book St Pancras Station was, ‘readable, learned and inspiring’.[2]
Created from a confederacy of colliery owners in the Erewash Valley,[3] the Midland Railway was based in Derby, with lines concentrated between Birmingham, Nottingham, Leicester and Leeds. St Pancras was, a trade display by the industries of the East Midlands, which influenced it’s very fabric, function and construction. The same company built an almost carbon copy of the station - Manchester Central - which has now been refurbished as a conference centre.

Eric Robinson from The Geological Society states that St Pancras, “offers us the widest range of rock types of any Victorian building in London”.[4] Featuring Leicestershire slates and granites, Nottinghamshire sandstone, limestone from Lincolnshire and Rutland, and of course, iron from Derbyshire. The manufacture and erection of the iron roof was completed in 1867 by The Butterley Company from Derbyshire, who were major customers of the M.R. (Midland Railway). Further still, the 50,000,000 red bricks which make up the shed and hotel, were specially fired from a supply of Keupar Marl Clay in Mapperley, Nottingham by Mr Gripper. The M.R. had branch lines running out to all these major quarries, brick yards, works and not to mention collieries.

Function & Construction

The chief engineer of the station shed William Henry Barlow explained how not only the construction of the lower floor was influenced by Burton Beer, but also the impressive station roof :

That it was determined by the directors to devote the whole area to traffic purposes...The special purpose for which this lower floor has been arranged is for Burton Beer traffic; and in order to economise the space to the utmost, it was determined to use columns & girders, instead of brick piers and arches, making the distances between the columns the same as those of the warehouses, which were expressly arranged for beer traffic. This, in point of fact, the length of a beer barrel became the unit of measure, upon which all the arrangements of the floor were based. This decision led to a reconstruction of the question of roofing the station. It became obvious that, if intermediate columns were employed, they must be carried down through the lower floor...on the other hand, it was seen that the floor girders across the station formed a ready made tie sufficient for an arched roof crossing the station in one span...the weight of the roof was carried on the floor line and did not rest on the tops of the walls... [5]

Decline & Renewal

By 1935 when the Midland Grand Hotel was closed and the reputation of St Pancras had sunk to it’s lowest depths. Victorian architecture was seen as over elaborate and superfluous and modernist critics failed to see how St Pancras was in fact a functional design built before the age of steel. As road transport became increasingly popular there were plans by British Rail to demolish the site and in 1975 the M.R.’s Somers Town Goods Depot (now the site of the British Library) was closed. The revival begun in 1994, when the government announced St Pancras would be the best option for a new Eurostar terminus in order to connect a larger portion of the UK to the continent, than was previously allowed at Waterloo. London & Continental Railways - a consortium of engineering, transport and financial businesses - won the bidding to develop this new enterprise. In order to accommodate the Eurostar, the old Burton Beer undercroft was opened up by laying concrete on top of the wrought iron beams, which enabled breaks in the structural grid to be made. A new flat north lit roof across all platforms was designed by Foster & Partners alongside leed architect Alistair Lansley. This provided natural light and cover for the 18 carriage long Eurostar, while trains from the Midlands had a new extension. Although British Rail’s fromer chief architect Nick Derbyshire wanted at least one Midland train to arrive in Barlow’s shed, perhaps a symbolic gesture of the station’s origins, these diesel trains were deemed to filthy for the restored station.6



1. J. Simmons, St Pancras Station, (Leicester, 1968) p.13.
2. J. Betjemn, London’s Historic Railway Stations (1972), p. 15
3. E.G. Barnes, The Rise of the Midland Railway 1844 – 74 Vol II (London, 1966), p. 1.
4. E. Robinson, London: Illustrated Geological Walks: Book 2 (Edinburgh, 1985), p.132.
5. ‘Minutes of the Proceedings of Civil Engineers’, cited in J. Simmons, St Pancras Station, p. 35-6.
6. R. Thorne, ‘St Pancras Revived’, in J. Simmons, St Pancras Station, (London, 2000) p.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Lexie Mountain Boys

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Lincoln (in declivio)

"...the hill to the north of the river provided a comanding position for the principal military base for the control of eastern England in the Roman period."

M. J. Jones, 'Roman Lincoln', in N. Pevsner & J. Harris, 'The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire' (1985)

"A new and controversial interpretation of the origins of the cathedral has recently been expounded by Richard Gem. He convincingly suggests that the west front was originally fortified."

N. Pevsner & J. Harris, 'The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire' (1985).

"Soon after William the Conqueror became King of England, there was a general order that many of the bishops' seats should be moved from their present sites (often villages) to major [walled] towns in the various diocese. The new Norman Bishop of Dorchestor, Remigius moved to Lincoln to counter the advances of the Archbishop of York, who had claims in Lindsey".

A. Rodgers, 'A History of Lincolnshire' (1970).

"..for the Bishop's Palace is indeed, as Leland says, 'hanging in declivio'.* This difficult topography called for bold use at different levels.."

N. Pevsner & J. Harris, 'The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire' (1985)

*declivio (m) n. declivity, slope, descent

Vicar's Court, Lincoln. Note the local oolitic Limestone used in buildings thoughout Lincoln.

Lincoln City lamp, Greestone stairs.

"In fact Greestone is a mutilation too. It was Greesen Place, Greesen being the plural of gree, meaning step".

N. Pevsner & J. Harris, 'The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire' (1985).

"The street by which one should approach it [the Cathedral] is justly called Steep Hill. Another approach is by Greestone stairs. The hill rises steeply only from the south."

N. Pevsner & J. Harris, 'The Buildings of England: Lincolnshire' (1985).

The Collection, (2005) a new museum by Panter Hudspith Architects.

Dury Lane (?), Lincoln.

Christopher Wordsworth: nephew of the famous poet, and Bishop of Lincoln during the most part of the nineteeenth century. Note also, the distinctive Lincoln street sign.

"When the nineteenth century began it had become a backwater with a population of only 7,000... But it seized the advantage that the railways offered and developed a new commercial importance as a centre of manufacturing industry, especially of agricultural machinery."

J. Simmons, 'A Selective Guide to England' (1979).