Thursday, 23 September 2010

Arts for All - Town Hall

On the Arts for All panel there's an embroidery of the interior of the Victoria Hall, within the Town Hall, hand stitched by Gill Cooke.

'Directly influenced by Liverpool's St George's Hall and indirectly by the Baths of Caracalla, the basilican form is expressed by coupled Corinthian columns and pilasters separating the bays'

Brodrick also designed the original ten cut glass chandeliers but only three survive and are now in the Civic Hall. The current lights were installed in the 1930s. The organ was the largest ever built by an English firm, at the time, with 6,500 pipes. Henry Smart and William Spark designed it, Gray and Davison (a London firm) built it and the architectural case was designed by Brodrick.

It must have been spectacular for the people of Leeds in the nineteenth century. Reminds me of the Great Exhibition scene in 'North and South'.

Information for this piece from Susan Wrathmell's Pevsner Architectural Guide of Leeds.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Enterprise Panel - Town Hall

Back with Cuthbert Brodrick, his Town Hall is on the Enterprise panel. This was one of the first four panels, completed before we had the technology to scan each of the embroideries before they were stitched to the background. Hopefully the four will be taken out of their frames to get more detailed photographs which could be posted on the blog.

The Town Hall in the night sky was made in applique by Sue Hodgson. This corner of the panel represents the Valentine Fair which used to be held around the Headrow and City Library.

Quoting Building News in 1858 'Profuse in its adornments, it represents an age in which wealth has passed beyond simple comfort to the enjoyment of luxury. It speaks of abundance and displays it'.

The Town Hall was opened by Queen Victoria on 7th September 1858. As with public buildings constructed nowadays, it cost almost four times the original amount but it elevated Leeds into a town with confidence and civic pride. The original plan did not include a clock tower but the civic leaders insisted this should be added, making the building the tallest in Leeds - a record which apparently was unbroken until 1966.

Nine years after the building had been completed the lions were added. The work of William Day Keyworth they walk around the building each night as the clock strikes midnight, before returning to their plinths. Now that's something worth seeing.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Arts for All - Old Museum

The original museum in Leeds was in Park Row, designed by Robert Dennis Chantrell in 1821. During World War Two it suffered extensive damage during an air raid. The building was repaired and continued to house the museum until 1965, when it was moved to the Central Library.

From 1999 until 2008 Leeds has been without its museum, but now many of the old favourites are back on show. The museum service also includes The Discovery Centre, near the Royal Armouries, where the majority of the Leeds collections not on display can be accessed by appointment.

Renditions in embroidery of both the new and old museum were done by Godfrey Harland, the one above on printed fabric (73 hours)

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Arts for All - Millennium Square

Continuing with the theme of Cuthbert Brodrick, this embroidery of ice-skating in Millennium Square, by Godfrey Harland, has as its background the Mechanics Institute in its phase as Civic Theatre. The lecture room was re-modelled for this purpose in 1949.

Pevsner's Guide mentions a quote from "The Builder" at the time when the Institute was built

'The internal arrangements... appear, except in some slight particulars, all that could be desired,' while its external appearance was of 'a grand and well-designed structure' except for the upper part of the building which, 'after its inevitable blackening by smoke, would be like a huge leaden coffin and excessively ugly'.

Recently the building has undergone another change of use and is now the long awaited City Museum, opened on 13 September 2008.

The pink building to the left is called Off-Kilter and houses the equipment to regulate the sound and lighting in Millennium Square, it was created by Richard Wilson in 2000.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Forgotten ones - First Cloth Hall

This building has been mentioned already on the blog ((26 June, 29 March). Possibly the ONLY building still standing from the Cossins Map, excluding churches. Should there have been a campaign to save it and is it too late? Kirkgate has been closed for its part demolition, I refer you to the BBC website.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Arts for All - Mechanics Institute interior

The Mechanics Institute, one of the buildings designed by Cuthbert Brodrick and opened in 1865.

Leeds Mechanics Institute was founded in 1824 or 1825 (sources vary) and was first established in Park Row. A competition was announced for the plans for the new building in 1860, almost at the same time as Brodrick had won the contest for the Corn Exchange.

The plan was centred on a circular lecture room fitted in a rectangular shell which contained workshops, studios and a library.

In the early nineteenth century Mechanics Institutes were founded in many cities of the UK, the first being in Glasgow. They were usually funded by industrialists to provide education for working men, particularly in technical subjects. It has been said that one of the main aims was to steer people away from gambling and alcohol.

Very soon after the opening of the new building, in 1868, Leeds Mechanics Institute became the Leeds Institute of Science, Art and Literature, later renamed Leeds College of Technology, and now within the Metropolitan University. Research has also revealed that in 1903 it joined with the Literary Institute to form Leeds College of Art. That's the internet for you. Back to the books.

The embroidery was hand stitched on printed fabric by Hilary Thurlow.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Textile and Industrial Heritage - Cuthbert Brodrick

Included on the piece of pink smocking is part of the bust of one of Leeds worthies.

Cuthbert Brodrick was born in Kingston-upon-Hull in 1821. When he was 15 he became articled to Henry Francis Lockwood, an architect in Hull who was influenced by the classical style. After this he toured Europe to study the major cities, then returned to Hull in 1845 to set up his own practice. When he was 29 he won a competition to design Leeds Town Hall, which building was opened by Queen Victoria in September 1858. He also won the competitions to design the Corn Exchange (opened 1862) and the Mechanics Institute (opened 1865).

Brodrick's fourth public building for Leeds was the municipal baths, opened in 1867 and demolished in 1969. There's a strange photograph of the Alpine Sun Baths over on the Leodis site. A bar, named The Cuthbert Brodrick now stands on the site, overlooking Millennium Square.

The piece was hand stitched by Janet Carding (26 hours), love the beard.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Textile and Industrial Heritage - Smocking

Many techniques of manipulation and surface decoration have been used on the Tapestry including smocking used in the background of the Textile panel. These pieces were made by Joan Langfield and Janet Taylor.

Another tenuous link.......

One textile technique not used is intarsia patchwork. If you don't know what it is there's a perfect opportunity to look at an international collection of examples at Leeds Art Gallery (on display until the end of October).

Two textile exhibitions in one building - is Leeds finally acknowledging its history?

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Community Spirit - NSPCC

I should really have mentioned this event before, rather than after the event. A really successful day and still worth including today to make people aware that it may be repeated. I met so many people I know, and haven't seen for years, the common thread? Textiles.

One visitor to the event yesterday embroidered the children for the NSPCC logo. I could remember what she'd made before her name - the danger of being obsessed with databases. So, Julia Cooper, if you're reading this, did you use a computerised machine to make the children? and who stitched the NSPCC?

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
was founded in 1884 by Reverend Benjamin Waugh.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Sports for All - Gymnasts

Intake School students also designed this piece representing gymnasts.

The embroidery was done on a computerised sewing machine, purchased for the Tapestry with the aid of a lottery grant. There were several debates when the panels were being made, about whether machine- and computerised-machine embroidery are a form of cheating. A personal view is that it's like comparing using oils, acrylics and water colours in painting. Each has something different to offer.

One of the gymnasts was scanned into a dedicated software programme on the computer. Areas for sewing were selected, then the computer linked to the sewing machine. The computerised sewing machines are supplied with a hoop for stretching the fabric across, and it's the hoop that moves under instruction from the programme. The programme was run four times to produce the four gymnasts. The sewing machine sews away without interference or need for the pedal but there is a tendency for the thread to snap the minute the 'embroiderer' leaves the room.

Machine embroidered by Barbara Walker (5 hours)

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Sports for All - Rugby Players

I can't identify the rugby players, they are an embroidered version of a cartoon drawn by one of the pupils at Intake School. Apparently the school closed in 2009 and re-opened as Leeds West Academy.

They were hand stitched by Pat Potton.

A very quick posting this morning.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Sports for All - Rugby Stadium

Not only did the pupils at Intake School contribute to the Sports Panel with their designs, teachers also became involved. One of them, Kathryn Vincent, spent many hours stitching the Rhino's ground which had been chartered by Peter Cowgill.

The team were known as Leeds Rugby League Club until 1997 when they became Leeds Rhinos. The ground is adjacent to the Yorkshire County Cricket Club in Headingley. For more information it's probably better to look at their club website rather than have me burble on.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Sports for All - Darren Gough

Several famous cricketers from the past were included in the Tapestry and Darren Gough was there to represent cricketers of the present. He retired at the end of the 2008 season.

Despite leaving Yorkshire for a while to play for Essex, he returned to his home county in 2007 to captain the team.

Darren Gough may have been included on the Tapestry for his cricketing skills but since then he has also become quite a celebrity for winning Strictly Come Dancing. In December 2005, he took part in the BBC television show partnered with British National champion Lilia Kopylova. He went on to win both the main series and the 2005 Christmas Special. Two years later he returned to win the 2007 Christmas Special. Following this he took part in the Strictly Come Dancing live tour during January and February 2008.

The piece was hand stitched by Margaret Clark and designed by one of the pupils at Intake High School.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Sports for All - Headingley Cricket Ground

There are gates at the cricket ground named for Len Hutton.

On 7 March 1861, a Match Fund Committee to run Yorkshire county matches was established in Sheffield, which had by then been the home of Yorkshire cricket for nearly 100 years. It was from this fund that Yorkshire CCC was founded two years later. Yorkshire played their first game at Headingley in 1891 and two years later a major reorganization of the Club saw its centre of operations shift from Sheffield to Leeds.

On 31 December 2005 Yorkshire County Cricket Club purchased the cricket ground for £12 million from the Leeds Cricket, Football and Athletic Company, parent company of the rugby league club, with the help of a £9 million loan from Leeds City Council. This purchase ensures that Test Cricket continues at the venue with a 15-year staging agreement. On 11 January 2006 the stadium was officially renamed the Headingley Carnegie Stadium as a result of sponsorship from Leeds Metropolitan University.

The piece was hand and machine stitched by Janet Taylor (12 hours)

Friday, 3 September 2010

Sports for All - Len Hutton (1916-1990)

Sometimes it can be difficult to think of a subject for the daily blog. There are so many diverse subjects on the Tapestry that a link with the news stories of the day can help. Cricket seems to be featuring heavily at the moment, so not exactly linked to the news story, today's offering is Sir Len Hutton.

Born at Fulneck, Pudsey on 23rd June 1916, he first played cricket, with his father, with Fulneck Sunday School and at the age of 13 was chosen to use the ‘nets’ at Headingley. In 1934 he scored the first of 129 centuries for county and country. In 1938, against the Australians at the Oval, he scored 364 runs, a record that stood for many years until Gary Sobers beat it by one run (against Pakistan in 1958). He was awarded his knighthood in the 1956 New Year’s Honour's List.

The embroidery was hand stitched by Merel Jackson (14 hours). I suspect the print was based on a cigarette card owned by Robin Dove.
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