The Victorian Nottingham world of architect Watson Fothergill appeared in full colourful glory with Lucy Brouwer explaining and showing why he was such an important influence on the red city. As storyteller, she brought him alive giving us fascinating snippets into his life, his personality, family, apprenticeship, practice, and his recognisable architectural trademarks...his brand.
I could hear and see the hustle and bustle of Nottingham market square and surrounding streets with the clatter of horses hooves pulling carts, trams and carriages on the cobblestones, and Victorian ladies and gentlemen briskly walking and weaving in between wearing elegant attire. Nottingham was a booming town with banks and businesses being built to match its meteoric trading growth. It was the world’s lace market capital with textile manufacturing and engineering utilizing a huge human workforce. Queen Victoria visited in 1843 and Jesse Boot was building his chemist shop and pharmacy empire. In 1896 Nottingham becomes a city and it is Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.
The stories that particularly delighted me were about Zebedee Jessop and William Daft, sculptor Benjamin Creswick and his terracotta panels, the architect’s showcase office on George Street, Queen’s Chambers and colonnade and the magnificent Notts Bank head office building on Thurland Street now housing ‘All Saints’ clothing store and ‘Bravissimo’ lingerie shop. Try and spot the monkey peeking out between the chimney support and roof tiles!
My photographer friend Ray Teece who started his Nottingham21 website in 2004 of Nottingham in Photographs - Nottingham in Pictures - has many fine photographs of the Notts Bank building, as well as other Watson Fothergill buildings, so please do take a look. http://www.nottingham21.co.uk/build_nottmbank_thumbnails.htm
The three photographs below are by Ray Teece from above link.
Whilst on the subject of Victorian building and Queen Victoria, Ray and Spanish artist Joe Ganech collaborated, together with Art Culture Tourism, on Joe’s magnificent artwork ‘Queen Victoria Complete’ referenced from Ray’s photograph of the late Queen 1905 statue in the Nottingham Embankment Memorial Gardens and which earlier had moved from the city square in 1953. Please find out more about this fascinating story with NottsTV clip 23 Nov 2017 by clicking on https://www.artculturetourism.co.uk/screen-media-room.html
I only managed to take a few photos myself on this ‘Watson Fothergill Grand Tour’ before my mobile charge ‘died’ halfway through but you can see excellent photos taken by Lucy and Nottingham photographer Lamar Francois on the official website together with all facts, blog reviews and how to book a tour. https://watsonfothergillwalk.com/
Many fine slices of architectural history were served by Lucy, as well as tea and cake by Debbie Bryan where we finished the walk and sat down in welcome comfort in her shop on St Mary’s Gate in Nottingham’s Lace Market. https://debbiebryan.co.uk/
Applause to Watson Fothergill himself and his architecture, and many thanks to our guide Lucy Brouwer.
Remember...please look UP whenever you walk around the streets of red brick Nottingham because you’ll be surprised at how many architectural curiosities, embellishments, stone animals and birds reach out to proudly display themselves!
Great talk and presentation Wednesday 19th Feb "On the trail of T.C. Hine", Nottingham architect and known as the 'grandfather of the Midlands architects', by Lucy Brouwer at Beeston Library Inspire Nottinghamshire Libraries. From his prominent house/architects office on Regent Street, to the magnificence of Thomas Adams building on Stoney Street with back entrance on St Mary's Gate, to his serpentine Broadway showing off the Birkins HQ and loads more. For those of you who had grand/great-grand parents working in Nottingham's Lace Market or who like grand living in the Park Estate, then this is for you!
Lucy is known for her Watson Fothergill walks in Nottingham so she can be contacted via her website for walks about both these famous Nottingham architects. https://watsonfothergillwalk.com/ Good to meet you Anna Wels and thank you for taking the photo of me and Lucy in front of the gentleman himself, TC Hine.
After each walk in Nottingham city centre, Lucy always leads her group for very welcome tea and cakes at Debbie Bryan's shop. https://debbiebryan.co.uk/
Okay, time for new Marysia working profile pix! Here's a few from this morning at my home gallery/studio taken by Marcus and a selfie. I'm promoting my artistic side with my own lino-cut prints and some of my art collection on walls. What else do you read into the story here?!
Thanks Marcus Gilmore, graphic designer/illustrator, for taking the better photos!
Fascinating facts for you about Ghino di Tacco, a noble brigand in the vein of Robin Hood. I think there must be just 10 people in Beeston who know about this real character and have visited Radicofani & Mount Amiata with ACT Tuscany Grand Tour in 2015. See ACT section 'Cultural Exchange'.
How many more people from Nottingham and Britain know about Ghino di Tacco? I'm fascinated by the fact that Charles Dickens visited Radicofani in 19th century and wrote a book called "Pictures of Italy" in which he featured the medieval fortress, village and Ghino di Tacco. Italy's most famous poet/writer Dante Alighieri wrote of Ghino di Tacco in his Divine Comedy. See the link details below. There are great connections between Nottingham and Siena country as well as teaching and academic staff at University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University and Siena University!
To top it all, there is great lead up to Dante 2021 in Italy and the world - it will be 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri's death 1321. So the poster art designed by Joe Ganech below of Dante Alighieri and Ghino di Tacco, produced for ACT 2018 ITALY Art & Photography exhibition at Nottingham, will be much in demand.
Performed on Saturday 8th February 2020
On Saturday evening, my senses were aroused and tickled by the musical performance of ‘Beauty to Bawdy’ by Elaine Chipchase and Mick Pearce at Beeston Canalside Heritage Centre.
Mick hails from Teeside, with a classical training background, now residing in Worksop, and Elaine, also with classical background, and who has been singing for only five years. This evening saw them perform together for the first time at an official public event.
The first half ‘Beauty’ was made up of nine musical and lyrical compositions by 17th century poets and composers such as William Lawes, John Dowland to Henry Purcell. The Suite for 2 Lutes by William Lawes particularly caught my imagination with Mick and Elaine playing their finely tuned acoustic guitars in sublime unison. Also A Pretty Duck (from A Booke of Ayres with a Triplicitie of Musicke, 1600) by John Bartlett really captured my senses and made me smile generously.
After the interval and the performers’ change of costume, with Elaine in suitable ‘country wench’ attire, we were treated to the ‘Bawdy’ side resulting in us joining in for the chorus singing and giggling at the naughtiness of it all.
I was particularly hooked by the compositions of Thomas D’Urfey, aka Tom Durfey, 1653-1723. He was an English writer and wit, and composed plays, songs, and poetry, in addition to writing jokes, who was a key innovator and contributor in the evolution of the Ballad opera (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_d%27Urfey) during the Restoration period. I certainly remember seeing The Virtuous Wife (1680) most probably at the Nottingham Playhouse which staged popular Restoration comedies in the 1960s and early 1970s, several of which starred Judi Dench as their ‘bawdy’ wench or haughty heroine.
Five of the Bawdy songs were taken from Durfey’s multi-volume Pills to Purge Melancholy, written between 1698 and 1720, namely The Old Fumbler, Consent at Last, and Watkin’s Ale.
We all really started to get into bawdy accompaniment with Mick and Elaine recounting The Lusty Young Smith, The Comical Dreamer and My Thing Is My Own.
Choruses such as ‘Will you buy a fine dog with a hole in his head’ and ‘My thing is my own and I’ll keep it so still yet other young lasses may do what they will’ we all cheerily sang together and tapped our feet. The finale rendition My Thing Is My Own known traditionally as Lillibulero, brought robust and very smiley appreciation by the audience.
In all, a wonderful Beauty to Bawdy evening I will remember for a long time. I can foresee Elaine and Mick performing together at Elizabethan and Jacobean venues such as Wollaton Hall, Hardwick Hall and Tissington Hall, in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire...and more.
Please go onto Canalside Heritage Centre’s website to see all their Events and musical evenings taking place during the year https://www.canalsideheritagecentre.org.uk/
My thanks go to Zoe Cockcroft as CHC volunteer events coordinator and who is also a talented textile artist with her art cards displayed for sale here http://www.zoezegzula.co.uk/ , together with a large range of heritage crafts and products/gifts by local artisans.
Opening times: Everyday 9.30 am - 4.30 pm Tel: 0115 922 1773
Promoting Peoples and Places
What a thoroughly entertaining night I experienced on Friday!
From 7.15 pm, after alighting the tram at Fletcher Gate from Beeston, I walked down to Nottingham Contemporary to catch the first Lights of the evening joining friends Jeanie Barton https://jeaniebarton.com/ and Katie Dawson https://www.katiedawsonfilms.com/ with her NTU Media Production colleagues in the downstairs bar. It was just one of Katie’s birthday celebratory events!
After supping and talking, we moved across the hall to the Light Night & Sound Show which was truly mesmeric for the families standing and floored.
I then explored the Contemporary latest exhibition and was particularly impressed with the large scale colourful and vibrant paintings by Grenada-born artist Denzil Forrester. They depict the nightclubs of 1980s London and present-day Jamaica. A must-see exhibition running until 3 May, together with sculpture, drawing and prints by Diane Simpson and new sound systems installation by Sung Tieu. https://www.nottinghamcontemporary.org/
I parted ways with Katie, Jeanie & company, and brisked along to the beckoning St Mary’s Church at top of High Pavement. Exciting music by Orchestra of Opera North and pulsating lights adorned the churchyard, and inside, among the candle light, there was an enticing and mesmerising show of light sculptures and projected art of continuously different shapes one could walk through hither and thither. Lots of enraptured faces. I moved forward to see and hear the heavenly choir voices. What a stunning show performance throughout this ancient church!
Departing the church, I ambled down St Mary’s Walk to Debbie Bryan’s shop. It’s always a pleasure to visit Debbie’s shop and be thrilled everytime by its eclectic display and creative goings-on. That night, she was hosting a paper lantern crafting activity, and in front of me, children and their proud parents were showing off to Debbie their beautifully coloured and cut-out paper lanterns. https://debbiebryan.co.uk/
Onwards I walked down Hockley to be aroused by musicians, fire-flame holding acrobats and a group of electric-charged skateboarders rushing by me in tune and alight!
I passed by my favourite Heathcoat Street shop and clicked a few photos through the window. http://paramount-picture-framing.co.uk/ Then came across a colourful procession of costumed ladies who smilingly posed for me.
At the bottom of Hockley I crossed over to the lights of Sneinton Market. https://sneintonmarket.com/ So much going on with people flowing towards me and with me. My first stop was to Minor Oak Co-working to be welcomed by Dee Miller and her helpers serving exotic cocktails and mocktails! https://www.minoroak.com/ I treated myself to a glowing mocktail with surprisingly good fruity flavours and sat myself down on a comfy sofa watching the lights outside and enjoying the music. From there, I hopped to the main avenue square and treated myself to a hot dog barbecue style because the smells were too hard to resist.
After 15 minutes relaxing and eating my reward in the piazza, I walked upwards back through Hockley to
16-18 Victoria Street to the newly opened ‘Cosy Club’ to meet up with Katie, Jeanie and friends. I remembered this place so well from my youth late 1960s and early 1970s when it was the lavish Victoria Club, so my stepping in was a nostalgic taster.
Image: Nottingham Post -
new Cosy Club site, Victoria Street
Katie and Crew were sitting down and enjoying their meal and drinks in the first floor restaurant. I had a lovely chat with our waitress who updated me on the development and very slight refurbishment of the Cosy Club which officially opened on Wednesday. The Club is housed in one of Nottingham’s most beautiful elegant Edwardian buildings, originally opened in 1913 as the gentlemen's Reform Club and becoming the Victoria Club in the late 1960s. I LOVE all the new golden chandelier fixtures! They were made, I was told, by the same company who produced them for the ‘Game of Thrones’ film series. I tagged myself onto a touring group led by the Operations director allowing me to see every room on each floor. So glad this sumptuous place is such an eye-pleasing, valued establishment again and will be so welcomed as a Nottingham hot-spot, business and hospitality venue. I wish it and Cosy Club management every success. https://cosyclub.co.uk/location/nottingham/
We filed out late into the night, said my goodbyes (early to them!) on Fletcher Gate and caught the tram back to Beeston, arriving at my Rylands home at midnight, exhausted but happy!
Cheers Jeanie, Katie and Dee & Light Night Crew!
You’re probably thinking why I have been rather quiet and inACTive since July last year. Well, there were a number of reasons but mainly it was a period of stepping back and reassessment...and a transition of creative discovery.
I hit a summer hiatus of ACT funding and financial difficulties so I had to rein in my spending, prioritise my own health/well-being and re-think...and that takes time and reflection for someone of my age (I will be 68 in March) to allow for vital regeneration of mind, body and spirit.
My writing and communicating took its toll and that included all business and social media so I practically stopped it all. And I’m not going to repeat my high energy-led six months of 2019 January to end of June. It was a successful active first half year for myself and our ACT team and much was achieved - with Caron Lyon of PCM creative, and interns Inna Schutts and Dawn Lindson together with four Nottingham Trent University student interns January - April. Roberto Alborghetti’s visit from Italy in June for ACT’s “In Conversation with…” & Ghost Bus 2019 event ended with a flourish at Barton Bros/The Garage venue.
I decided to cancel our September, October & November ‘Cultures Crossing’ events in Sandiacre, Nottingham and Beeston and stopped all media appearances, and replaced them instead with inside and outside physical exercise - tending my garden, walking in our wonderful local nature side and surrounds with my canine friends who came to stay - plus inhaling deeply and listening. I stopped all intake of alcohol (very little at the time anyway) and that’s continuing. Mainly I just 'slovenly' rested at home watching Netflix, watching YouTube tutorials and reading light matter, together with, and this is important, occasional art exhibition and museum visiting. Art, culture and tourism I always breathe in. So I continued to listen to my body, and when it was ready, it ‘directed’ me what to allow in...
...and that was my own creativity and enlightenment stepping in last October. I discovered the art of lino cutting - that printmaking medium and craft that many of us attempted at school age...but not me. I had for years wished to take this craft up, so I attended several local art workshops in the summer to decide which medium to turn to and focus on.
In early November, I had purchased my first lino cutting kit and away I gingerly cut with my tools into the blue lino pieces on my kitchen table! Beforehand though, researching, designing and outlining my images onto drawing sheets, then using tracing paper to transfer them onto blank lino pieces in order to create inverted relief work. You can see my efforts so far here and on my Facebook page. I’m now seriously considering selling my prints, researching local printers (as I cannot afford my own art studio and printing press), local art/tourism retail outlets and costs, plus promoting/selling them via my website. What a turnaround you say, but my own artistic juices have always been there (like they are all in YOU); they were just waiting for the right time to be realised and reveal themselves on paper!
Lino cutting printmakers Angela Harding, Angie Lewin, Laura Boswell, Linda Cote, James Green, Karin Rytter, and of course Edward Bowden and Eric Ravilious, I have studied over recent years. There are so many talented lino cutting printmakers out there and many give YouTube tutorials which I avidly watch. I also wish to give credit to our Beeston-based artist/illustrator and printmaker, Jacquie Hughes, who gave me that all important 3 hour introductory workshop training in mid-October at Cafe Roya one Sunday afternoon - thank you so much Jacquie!
Instagram / Pinterest / LinkedIn jacquie hughes & new website link to be posted this week here
I’ve always been an advocate and follower of William Morris (1834-1896), his philosophies, socialism and practice, the Arts & Craft Movement which he initiated, and medievalism. I have many books on him, his designs, the Pre-Raphaelites and Arts & Crafts which I regularly glance through and am inspired by. Let us remember what he said..
Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
I will reveal very soon in my next blog what ACT plans will transpire for 2020 and about our podcasting. But consider this fact - Craft making is very much back with us and trending within our communities, growing and THRIVING. The Art world is embracing Craft. You were always true to your words and Arts & Crafts William Morris - thank you for your continuing inspiration!
"We have ebbs and flows just like Nature. Being gentle and loving to ourselves during the off times is so needed."- Pamela Hope Deluca-Price, New Jersey, USA.
See my Beeston garden below from June 2019.
by Marysia Zipser
It's always a joy to welcome Roberto to Beeston and Nottingham. Here are public reactions to his 'In Conversation with..." evening on Wednesday 5th June at The Garage in Beeston/Chilwell
Photos by Tracey Whitefoot /Whitefoot Photography.
See her album on my previous blog 11.6.19.
"I was pleased to be invited to this event and was fascinated by the excellent work. It’s delightful to see the creative community bringing events like this to our Borough." - Mayor of Broxtowe, Councillor Michael Brown
"Enjoyed it very much! Very interesting and entertaining. Thank you!" - Pam Miller & Rosemary Wels
"Great to meet up again! The Ghost Bus Lives On!!" - Christopher Frost - The Beestonian.
Read Christopher's awesome review further down.
"Thank you for prompting me to come to this Marysia! It was an enjoyably eclectic evening, very warm and sociable." - Karen Med
"We found the evening fascinating, Roberto finds another angle with which to see the world; he slows us down and helps us to appreciate the here and now - the beauty of the everyday. It was refreshing and energising! " - Jeanie Barton
"Thank you for the live-streaming, wonderful to watch!" - Lee A. Meisner, Ohio, USA
“A relaxed evening listening to someone with an amazing range of interests and achievements, from being the official biographer of Pope Francis to a visual artist specialising in abstract photography.”
“Roberto’s work in education is fascinating: he has recently written a book articulating the concerns many have for the limiting effects of social media on young people.”
“William Ranieri was an impressive interviewer, and did much to create a positive and relaxing evening. As with all good interviewers he knew when to step back and when to gently nudge forward.” - All above comments from Robert Richardson
by Marysia Zipser
We met up with ACT event producer Caron Lyon and, and a short time afterwards, we warmly welcomed and introduced William Ranieri, who had travelled up from Brighton by train, to be our event host presenter and interviewer. William runs his own video production company https://ranierifilm.com/ and is Director-Producer for https://thelatest.co.uk/ TV in Brighton.
We went over Roberto’s schedule and visit program and in particular the Q&A content and script/running order of the next evening’s event - Ghost Bus 2019 - In Conversation with…Roberto Alborghetti - at The Garage / Gallery at Chilwell. https://www.thegaragechilwell.co.uk/
All the ACT artists and management team contribute to this blog. Press Releases, Reviews, Events and Calls to Participate are posted here too.