Peeling paint

 

DSC_1836.JPG

I’m thinking of painting something like this. It’s a window in one of the buildings at spode. Goodness knows what the paint is made of. It is just so old. The wood looks dry and decaying. The putty holding the glass in is probably made with lead. Surprisingly the window looks quite clean and the building opposite is reflected in it. Capturing the detail will be a challenge.

Today at Spode site

Flowers and old wood

Blocked up windows and peeling paint.

Dasies and dianthus.

A history in brick and slate.

Clay and pottery.

Caged in but released,

Renewed and Revivified.

Pansies and wallflowers shining,

their sunlit faces turned to a bright, chilled sky.

Crumbling with asbestos innards,

But able to be proud again.

 

Timothy Trow memorial day

Timothy Trow was  a tram conductor who tried to save a young girl who had fallen in a local canal, he drowned while trying to save her. He is recognised as a local hero. Today, 13th April  is the anniversary of his death.

I sang with two choirs to commemorate his death by the Memorial stone laid near to where he died on London Road, in the West End area of Stoke on Trent. Singing a song about his life by a local song writer. We then had went over to the local Methodist church, a decendant of the girl who was saved read a piece about the incident. The choirs then sang three more songs.

There were images selected by the local archives department on display inside the church. In all it was a very poignant day.

Bottle oven / pizza oven….

A replica bottle oven is growing on the grounds of Spode at the moment. It’s going to be a pizza oven at the hotel on the Spode site.

Around the other side of Spode near the Church Street side is the base of an original bottle oven which had been demolished years ago. There are very few real ovens still standing in the city. Many were knocked down or fell into disrepair over the years. Where hundreds once stood and smoke stained the city sky less than fifty are still standing and many of these are in danger of being lost to the history of the city, county, and country.

Even now buddleia and other shrubs are growing in between their bricks, pulling the ovens down in continued dereliction. Hopefully some can be conserved.

For those who don’t know bottle ovens are bottle shaped buildings containing a central kiln which the oven surrounds. Pottery was stacked inside the kiln and fired by stoking fires under the ovens with coal.

Minton exhibition

Tonight we went to the opening of an exhibition based on Minton tiles.. This is being held at the Winkhill Mill at Swan Street in Stoke, Stoke-on-Trent.

DSC_1868

Bret Shah and Hans Van Lemmen on have produced a book of patterns based on designs by Minton tiles. Also in the exhibition are examples of tiles. There are 3d printed tiles where the different patterns are built up as layers. You can wear glasses that obscure your vision so you see as if you are visually impaired  The 3d tiles give you an idea of the shapes used on the flat tiles. There is also a chance to see tile presses where dry clay dust is used to produce blank clay tiles. However the mill is also looking ar producing encaustic patterns on the tiles.DSC_1862.JPG

Later we visited St Thomas’s Church at Penkhull. The floor of the church is covered in minton tiles in the area by the altar.

Urban murals

Here are two murals in Stoke Town centre (or Stoke-upon-Trent) one of the six towns that make up Stoke-on-Trent.

The market is mostly held inside this building with food stalls including fish and meat. Clothes stalls and all sorts of other merchandise.

Several years ago (almost 40) the old market burnt down. I remember sitting in a friends garden and seeing the plume of black smoke flowing high up into the sky. The cause? An electrical fault. The site was cleared but the local Labour Party fought for it to be rebuilt and a few years later the new market rose on a part of the site near the old market hall. There followed a library and council buildings. Nowadays the market is less busy. More shops are closing in the town. Cuts to local government are affecting the jobs in the town and city. Services have been slashed because of austerity measures bought in after the 2010 general election. The cuts really bit when the local administration went over to a Conservative and independent coalition.

Maybe one day things will improve. In the meantime it’s good to see the vibrant murals on the market building.