• Additional information:
    Rothbury: The Armstrong memorial cross.

    Dr Tony Power, has co-authored a paper in York Historian 33 based on the recently discovered Day Book of the York based sculptor George Walker Milburn (p219 A&C in NE and p311 A&C in Yorks). The paper is a wonderful introduction to the vast amount of work undertaken in the region  and elsewhere by this much underrated artist craftsman.  Amongst many other things the article makes it clear that Milburn was responsible for the carving, designed by C.C. Hodges, for the Armstrong memorial cross in Rothbury.  Dr Power is working on a biography of G.W. Milburn which will surely throw a bright light on a career overshadowed now by such contemporaries as Robert Thompson, James Ellwood, Ralph Hedley, Bridgman and the Bowmans.

    rothbury armstrong memorial cc hodges deer
    A panel of the Armstrong Memorial cross, Rothbury.  Designed by C.C. Hodges, Executed by G.W. Milburn, 1902.






  • Here is an addition to the Northumberland section of the gazetteer.

    Howick, St Michael and all Angels Parish Church in the grounds of Howick Hall.
    Detail of the bronze railings surrounding the grave of one of the children of Earl Grey’s family.  The sculpture was executed by the Countess Gleichen. (see biographical info on p291 of A&C in Yorkshire)


    Howick graveyard tomb to children of 4th Earl Grey by lady gleichen

  • Whilst looking for further information about John Carr (see the who’s who in The Arts and Crafts Movement in the North West) we came across this item which helps clear some of the mist surrounding Carr’s sojourne in Manchester.  Can anyone say how he came to be in Willesden working as a stained glass designer “on his own account” in 1901?  Better still, who was he working for in Watford, Herts in 1911 where the census describes him as a designer and manager as well as an art metalworker.

    Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser  10th January 1899.


    Mr. John Edward Charles Carr, of Stockport road, Longsight, was publicly examined by Mr. Dibb, the Official Receiver in Bankruptcy.  The debtor described himself as a designer and craftsman in the applied arts.  He said he came to Manchester in March 1897, and commenced business here.  Previously he was in the employ of a firm at Glasgow at a salary of £3 a week.  He had no capital, but he was induced to come to Manchester by some of the leading architects of this city who had seen his work.
    Mr Dibb: I understand you are a splendid artist in your work, but that you are not a very good business man.  Is that putting it fairly?
    The Debtor:  Possibly so.  The debtor further stated that his accounts showed a deficiency of £1,445 on liabilities amounting to £1,621.  He was insolvent through “bad management. Want of capital, dishonesty of an employe (sic), and dereliction of duty on the part of employes (sic).”   The bad management was on his own part owing to want of capital.  An employe (sic) robbed him of £25, and other employes (sic) neglected their duties by getting drunk and in other ways when they were supposed to be watching his interest outside.  His trade liabilities were only £260, and the remainder of his liabilities were represented principally by about £1,100, which he owed to friends who had financed him.
    Mr Rylands (Messrs Boote and Edgar), who appeared for the debtor, said the private creditors had been willing to stand aside in order that the trade creditors might receive a dividend, but one of the trade creditors had refused to accept such an arrangement.  Now it was impossible to carry out a scheme of the kind because a portion of the assets had been sold by auction
    Mr Dibb said the case was just one in which he would like the bankruptcy to be annulled, and if a scheme were put forward it would be proper to annul it.  That was, however, a matter for the debtor.
    The examination was adjourned to the 30th Inst,. Certain accounts to be filed in the meantime.

  • 008 matlock bath st john baptist east window l davis


    We recently visited the Chapel of St John the Baptist at Matlock Bath which is in the care of the     Friends of Friendless Churches.

    This little stone-built chapel with its brick interior was designed c.1897 by Guy Dawber  (1861-1938) for the widow, Mrs Louisa Sophia Harris, who paid for the project as a memorial to her dead husband. It was the only church Dawber designed.  Apart from its picturesque appearance and sylvan setting, the church is worth a visit for the sake of its interior decoration by two of the Movement’s most talented artist/craftsmen. The east window  was designed and made by Louis Davis (1861-1941).  It is shown below with apologies for the poor quality of the photography ….  it was not a good day for it!!  Nevertheless, Davis’s drawing style and general treatment are very recognisable in this window.  There are very few examples of his work in the North.  We have only found his windows at Rossall School at Fleetwood in Lancashire and in the memorial chapel at Wynyard Hall in Teesside.  We think that is a bit remarkable given the popularity of his work in the South of England and in Scotland.

    001 matlock bath st john baptist east window l davis


    The barrel- vaulted chapel ceiling has a frieze and moulded-plaster ribs with painted wreaths of stylised plant-forms by George Bankart, (1866-1929) .  Most of the interior fittings were designed by Guy Dawber and the very competent  carving  with some quirky decorativre features is attributed to  the less well-known Cecil Fabian.  There are also some glitzy mini chandeliers. Whilst they are unattributed, they are reminiscent of those designed by George Jack for the church of St James and St Basil at Fenham, Newcastle upon Tyne.   On the other hand they might just be by W.A.S. Benson.

    Access to the church can be a bit difficult if you decide not to leave your car in the car park to the east of the A6 just beside a Matlock Bath sign and opposite the very narrow and quite steep, St John’s Rd.  You can drive up with care but be VERY careful doing your 7 point turn at the top of the road before coasting down to the one-car only space by the entrance gates.  The church is usually locked up but, the web site provides a telephone number to call for information about contacting keyholders  …  02072363934.  It is always worth checking at HQ before you travel to any of the Trust’s churches.


    We were in Blackpool last week-end and took the opportunity to visit the Winter Gardens to see what has been done about the Doulton tiled panels which were designed in 1896 by W.J. Neatby for the foyer of the Empress Ballroom.  There were originally 28 of these panels, all different and each of them displaying a very exotic, life-size, art nouveau lady.

    Structural changes made to the foyer some time ago led to a number of panels being destroyed whilst others, in a part of the building that became a motor car sales garage, had been covered up and to all intents and purposes, forgotten about.  None of them was on show when we went looking for them whilst doing our research for The Arts and Crafts Movement in the North West of England in 2001.

    The car sales garage is lomg gone and the showroom is  now the Winter Gardens Cafe/Bar in St John’s Square.  We were delighted to find no less than 12 panels displayed in deep niches in the cafe walls.  Some have been slightly adjusted to fit, but 11 of the 12 still show Neatby’s signature.  We have included images of  just two of them here to tempt you to call in for a coffee and take time to feast on the whole wonderful collection.   It is marvellous that after nearly 120 years so many panels have survived.  Congratulations to everyone involved in the process of uncovering, conserving and displaying these beautiful survivors from the 1890s.




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