Tuesday, February 28, 2006

ARCHIPEDIA - M is for....

Mausoleum - a free standing tomb dedicated to one particular individual or individuals which are normally buried inside. Deriving from the ancient tomb of Mausolus, the remains of which can be seen in the British Museum. The photo was taken in 2004 and is a mausoleum in the grounds of the Anglican Cathedral at Liverpool UK.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Making of the English Landscape

Would it be sad to say that one of my 'comfort' books is 'The
Making of the English Landscape' by W G Hoskins. I think I read in the flyer that one critic said that it was rare that a single book comes along and heightens your consciousness of your surroundings. That's why every now and then I have to dip back into it to bring me back to that ethereal state of awareness - or else I'm in danger of being numbed by the effects of today's busy and stressful lifestyle.

I think the book was originally written in the 1950's but it is still revolutionary in its outlook - with its main tenet that even the wildest moors of Britain have been shaped by the hand of man. Even more remarkable is the fact that with a little insight you can still see the marks that our ancestors left over 10,000 years ago.

Boundaries are one of the most lasting features in our landscape, as are some field systems.

The photo above of
Cheesden Pasture in Heywood Lancs shows a largely rural scene which most would expect to be completely natural. But we have a field boundary of stone; a cultivated pasture to the right; a tree (which is at the base of the ruins of a house and probably planted by man); just off photo, some larger humps and bumps were created in the late C18th and early C19th when water was diverted to a lodge to run a water powered mill. On the side of the hill in the background there survives a series of ridge and furrows which are only visible when the sun is low (from what period I don't have a clue). The main ridge in the photo leads to a hill which has had human activity for thousands of years with stone age flints being found (possibly a place of ritual) Nearby across the Edenfield Road we have a bronze age burial site which lifts the field boundary aloft like the dip of a roller coaster. Only a matter of yards away the head of a bronze age axe was found during excavations for a reservoir.

Indeed it wouldn't surprise me to find out that this area of North Pennine Moors was teaming with life several thousand years ago and that the location of my home town would have been no more than a clearing swamped and surrounded by trees.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Beverley Saturday Market

The Saturday Market developed to the north of Beverley Minster and there has been a market on this location since the C13th. Further south the Wednesday Market (which still exists) lies upon the site of the original market designed to serve the religious community of the Minster.

Around the life of the Minster the town grew and the Saturday Market was established to serve the secular community. The market is full of life with colourful awnings, rich aroma's and plenty of noise. European bread and olive stalls are contrasted against, jewellery and tool stalls. Whilst you walk around you do get a sense of the history of the place and your part in the tradition of commerce which has been alive for over 800 years. The vista's are remarkable - to the north we have the beautifully complete Perpendicular Gothic of Saint Mary's and to the south we have the aspiring twin towers of the Minster. On the wester boundary of the market the Green Dragon public house now takes up the full length of the original medieval burgage plot.

Here's a whole raft of Beverley images taken over a period of several years

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Housing Market - Insider Knowledge

Is my latest sale to a consumer magazine a sign of a pick up in the housing market?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Every now and then its refreshing to photograph something different than finials and fenestration. I did a studio shoot with Jessica over the weekend - who was all ears;)

Here's a whole swatch of my studio and people images

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

ARCHIPEDIA - L is for....

Lych Gate - found at the entrance to many Churches - the Lych Gate had a traditional role as a dry place to hold the coffin whilst waiting for the Vicar to arrive.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Latest Sale

Latest Sale is in Manchester UK near to the Millenium Quarter where the big wheel plys its trade next to Harvey Nichols. Sold in China!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Genius Loci

Sometimes when your out and about with camera in hand you get to meet really interesting people. One such occasion was last weekend in Beverley. Do you ever get that magnetic pulling feeling when you walk past a street and glimpse something interesting? I always try and follow my instinct and just take a detour along the line of interest. This was the case on Saturday in Beverley when Dad and I were out on a walk over to the Minster and found ourselves being drawn to Newbegin.

Newbegin is a remarkable little street with beautiful Georgian buildings (some complete with fire marks). It was whilst I was admiring Newbegin House that I bumped into a lovely lady who stopped and chatted about the architecture and the locality in general. She talked with a passion, not just about the grand old buildings, but also about the minute details such as the gate handle in the photo above. She told me of the numerous times that she had walked down the street with her grandchildren and they had made a detour to the gate handle shaped like a hand. Her grandchildren had always touched the handle and asked questions about it, opening up the conversation about the wider environment.

Later I got to thinking about my home environment and the Victorian Post box I pass regularly by the side of the road. I realised that I always give it a glance on my way past. The gate post at the end of my street gets a touch, and I always absorb the perspective of Italianate gables along the street to my local Morrisons. More recently, near my place of work, there was a large protruding stone on the corner of a Victorian railway bridge which people always sat on and passed the time of day (one particular man used it the most with pipe in hand). A few months back the whole corner was taken out by a car, and I remember being surprised at the sense of loss I felt which was prior to its removal completely unrealised.

The lady in Beverley commented on some recent planning applications and she said that she would be devastated if the little gate handle was ever removed, because it meant far more than the sum of its parts.

I now know what she means. Throughout our lives we unwittingly pick up on these signs and signifiers and they are held in our subconscious as soothers, and placemarkers - all contributing to our identity.

It is only when these things go missing or are removed that we realise how important they are to us.

I really do believe that this is why communities are more settled in an environment that has fixed and slowly evolving visual references, be it architectural or organic.

I live near a bridge and this bridge has had concrete barriers installed along its length to deliniate a cycle way. They are Tadao Andoesque with holes in them - the type you see on a motorway during refurbishment. They are there permenantly, but give the place a temporary feel - left there as if nobody cares of their consequence. This beautiful bridge was one of my visual anchor's - a part of my locality and a part of my identity - but alas no more.

What happens to communities which have their visual references eroded and destroyed over a short period of time? And in their place is erected a transient mish mash of buildings and details which have no references to previous buildings or traditions; which are not rooted in the nutrients of the local cultural traditions?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

ARCHIPEDIA - K is for.....

Decorated and ornate kneelers in Prinsengracht canal Amsterdam Holland

KNEELER - Stone or brick projection and end cap to a gable with copings. Often decorated. Its practical use is to provide a stop end for the copings to the gable. In England the kneeler often projects over the eaves line (as in the pic below) and is a common feature in northern areas. Also known as a skewputt in Scotland.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Tuschinski Theatre

This photo of the Tuschinski Theatre Amsterdam Netherlands, was a recent sale for me in a UK National Newspaper. Built in the 1920's the exterior is a strange amalgamation of sinewy Gothic and amorphous Art Deco. It was built by Jewish entrepreneur Abraham Tuschinski who later died in the Nazi concentration camps in the second world war with most of his family. It is a poignant memorial to a remarkable man who started life as a tailor and ended up creating a movie theatre empire. Further to restoration in 2002 it is now open and if your in Amsterdam you can go and book a movie here and experience a remarkable building both inside and out.

More of my images of the Tuschinski Theatre

Monday, February 13, 2006

Beverley Minster

Went to Beverley, East Yorkshire UK over the weekend. It is the best kept secret in the UK - a beautiful town with heaps of history and architecture. The Minster is remarkable and has wonderful examples of the Early English and Decorated periods of Gothic. The photo I took above (click for larger) is of the Nave looking eastwards which took 40 years to build in the C14th and is from the Decorated period.

Whilst I was there I came across a man who was curiously looking at bits of stone work with his torch and marking information down on a piece of paper. I guessed he might be looking for stone masons marks and I was right (examples at Rosslyn). Stone Masons marks are cuts in stone by the mason during erection as a record of what work he has completed.

The gentleman with the torch kindly showed me a few which were over 700 years old. The most remarkable one being a full signature of a surname (Maldon or Morton I think). By recording all the marks in the Minster they hope to see if there was any pattern in construction which might throw light on the construction sequence of events.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Happy Anniversary!

Charlotte and I got married 12 months ago to this day in one of the most romantic (and er.. ahem... architecturally significant) locations on earth - Venice.

After the grand occasion at the Palazzo Cavelli we had lunch in a simple trattoria around the corner. For starter's we had Champagne and Parma Ham with oven baked aubergine. It's a taste I will never forget. At the ceremony, in typical Italian style, we had to vow to live up to Italian beliefs and bring our children up in the Italian way - no problem.

Charlotte's Mum and Dad and my Mum and Dad came along aswell as Sam and Emmy.

I said to Charlotte's Mum that it was Italian tradition that once married, the groom had to throw the Mother In Law into the Grand Canal - but she was having none of it;)

Tonight we celebrate with an Italian extravaganze - with champagne, parma ham, aubergines and much much more.....

Liverpool Light and Shadow

Went to Liverpool this morning and it is nice to see that the grandly entitled Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King (ie the catholic cathedral) has now had its main entrance, promenade and visitor centre completed.

Further afield I note that the real catalyst for contemporary architecture is Liverpool University with several new buildings of various sizes and dispositions.

Aldham Robarts Learning and Resource Centre, Mount Pleasant, 1994, Austin Smith Lord

I noticed the shadow's of the trees against the plain white backdrop of the University of Liverpool's Aldham Robarts centre, and it got me wondering whether some architects are actually able to plan certain shadow and light effects on the surfaces of new buildings. As an architect, this would be a wonderful area to explore - especially in this age where a building can be placed into a virtual world with sunlight and shadow.

Take this even further and you could plan certain shadows from various sculpted points in the landscape to reach certain parts of the building at certain times. Imagine also surfaces which react to slight variations in temperature and change colour or leave an imprint for a short time just like a pinhole camera.

Hang on - hasn't this light and shadow trick been done before - Stonehenge?

More recently I was impressed by the way tree landscaping formed shadow effects on Tadao Ando's screen in Manchester - see below..

View More Images of Liverpool

View More Images of Tadao Ando's Screen

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Roofing Sale

Latest sale is of a traditional tiled roof and leaded sweeping valley on a building next to Lendal Bridge York UK. Sold for educational use.

Click here to view some more roof images

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

ARCHIPEDIA - J is for...

JETTY - In a timber framed building a jetty is the projection of the timber joists of the floor above over the room below to the exterior.

Medieval Lavenham Archi-Map (timber framed buildings).

Monday, February 06, 2006

Cheesden Valley Project - Cheesden Pasture Mill


Built around 1810 for carding and spinning wool. The mill was powered by water from the large triangular lodge situated several feet above the mill. It converted to cotton spinning in the late 1830's whereafter the factory was enlarged to incorporate several thousand spindles. Sandiford and Asworth note 3 to 4000 spindles for spinning cotton waste yarns, 3 pairs of mules for spinning raw cotton and 5 reeling frames for winding the spun yarn into hanks in preparation for the dyer. In addition 30 looms made cloth from the spun yarn.

Here we can witness in one mill the transition from industrial unit focusing on producing wool for the outworker, to multi-faceted industrial unit focusing on producing cloth in a variety of forms and ranges - reeling in the majority of processes under one roof.

During the peak of its production a row of cottages were built to house workers. Later a steam engine was incorporated into the factory which helped produce gas to light the mill. A school room was also incorporated indicating the important role of the mill in the northern outback, in social matters during this time.

Remaining Archaeology

Little remains of the mill (although more than I expected). The plan form can still be made out (if one consults Sandiford and Ashworths drawings) against the hillside. The biggest remaining impact of the mill is on the landscape, with the huge earth banks of the lodge rising high above a rubble stone revetement. It remains empty, and was filled by the numerous springs in the area, and not the brook itelf. An opening in the south west corner indicates where the waterwheel must have been. Also, a large oval indentation is present to the north which may have housed a boiler or gas tank of some description. Whilst I was up there I found the remains of a china tea-cup (surely not from the mill or outworkers buildings?). Iron pipes protrude from behind a stone revetment or wall tucked up against the lodge. Beyond the great oval indentation the stone remains of a square building survive. To the east of the lodge, humps and bumps and some slight standing walls indicate the location of the row of houses. Of interest to me are the remains of a
Shippon which looks suspiciously like a ww2 air raid shelter.

Project Links

Touched by the hand of God
Shippon at Cheesden Pasture Mill

Lightbox (updated regularly)

Images of Cheesden Pasture Mill


You can view all of the Cheesden Valley mills on my Google Earth archi-map.
Access is from my archi-map page on my website.

Satellite Image of Cheesden Pasture courtesy of Google Earth

Do you have more information?

Please post a comment if you have more information or any corrections are required


There are a number of references which require acknowledgement. Firstly the pioneer book by A.V. Sandiford and T.E. Ashworth called The Forgotton Valley is an important source of information and is available from the libraries at Heywood or Rochdale. For a general background Owen Ashmore's Industrial Archaeology of Lancashire is a must. There is also a good archive at Heywood Library.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The City Reflected

Aswell as my architectural photography, I also produce composite images which are intertwined with urban themes which have a more conceptual angle. Click the image to enlarge it.

Here's a whole raft of my conceptual images

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Latest Sale

This image sold this week in a variety of media for educational use and cd-rom. It is of the Rochdale Canal next to Canal Street in Manchester city centre, UK.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


The farms around the North Pennine Moors in the north of England are almost prairie like and the vast haunch of of moss gnarled sandstone coal measures adds an epic quality to the landscape.

I was up there last Sunday to witness this spectacular sunset and take my wife and daughter for a walk up to a small hamlet called Fecit via the Cheesden Pasture; where I told them stories of the ardent activities of the mill operatives who traversed the stark setting every morning to sit at the loom and stare out of the window at the farm on the horizon silhouetted against the ochre sky.


Custom Search