Saving a Century photography exhibition

saving a century

The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (Strathclyde Group) and the Victorian Society are holding a photographic exhibition entitled Saving a Century, curated by noted architectural historian Gavin Stamp. The exhibition will be on show at the Mitchell Library, Granville Street, Glasgow, G3 7DN from 1 – 30 October, Monday to Saturday. Free admission.

The exhibition includes:

VICTORIAN BUILDINGS LOST BEFORE 1958 – A photographic survey of some of the best Victorian buildings destroyed in the first half of the twentieth century, among them Crystal Palace (burnt down 30th November 1936), Trentham Hall, Staffordshire (abandoned by the 4th Duke of Sutherland in 1906 and demolished five years later) and Queen’s Park Church, Glasgow (Scotland’s worst architectural loss of the Second World War).

THE FOUNDATION OF THE VICTORIAN SOCIETY – Photographs and material from the opening meetings of the Society. Early members included architect Hugh Casson, architectural historian Christopher Hussey, Sir Nikolaus Pevsner and Sir John Betjeman.

THE EUSTON MURDER AND OTHER CASES – Photographs and text documenting the bitter battle for the Euston Arch, as well some of the Victorian Society’s other early defeats. There were early victories too, among them the Oxford University Museum, proposed for demolition in 1961 to make way for new science buildings. The Victorian Society also succeeded in getting the Broad Street Building of Balliol College listed, after it was threatened with a re-build in 1963.

VICTORY IN WHITEHALL – Photographs charting the heroic, ten-year campaign against plans to demolish much of the historic square mile, including nearly every building south of Downing Street and Richmond Terrace. Sir George Gilbert Scott’s Foreign Office, Richard Norman Shaw’s New Scotland Yard and Middlesex Guildhall in Parliament Square were among the buildings proposed for demolition.

PLACES OF WORSHIP – A photographic survey of some of the historic churches, chapels and synagogues with which the Victorian Society has been involved. As churches are exempt from the secular planning system, it can be particularly difficult to guard them against insensitive change. With falling attendance figures and a growing number of redundant places of worship, the future of our best churches is one of the biggest challenges facing heritage campaigners today.

RAILWAY BUILDINGS – Photographs of some of the key buildings the Victorian Society fought for, as the closure of many branch and other railway lines resulted in the redundancy of numerous stations, bridges and viaducts. That many pioneering and magnificent railway structures, such as St Pancras Station, survive today, often still in use, is very much owing to the efforts of the Society.

IRON, GLASS & STONE – Photographs of some of the most innovative nineteenth century buildings, among them Clevedon Pier, Islington’s Royal Agricultural Hall and Bradford’s Kirkgate Market, for which the Victorian Society has fought.

THE FUNCTIONAL TRADITION – Photographs of some of the most impressive industrial buildings for which the Society has fought. With the decline of the traditional industries of the North of England after the Second World War, many mills and warehouses became redundant while many Northern towns and cities became ashamed of their Victorian industrial legacy and anxious to replace it with something new. The Victorian Society, along with bodies such as SAVE Britain’s Heritage, argued that nineteenth century industrial buildings were evocative and substantial structures which were not only of historical importance but capable of gainful re-use.

THE PURPLE OF COMMERCE – Photographs of some of the most significant Victorian commercial buildings to have come under threat in the last fifty years. Built partly as self-advertisements and partly to inspire confidence, these ambitious and substantial banks, offices and warehouses too often fall victim to redevelopment schemes.

COUNTRY HOUSES – Photographs of some of the grandest country houses to have been the subject of Victorian Society campaigns, among them Shadwell Park, Tyntesfield and Highcliffe Castle. Rendered redundant by social and cultural changes, some of the most famous large houses were demolished between the wars while many more disappeared in the 1950s.

DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE – A collection of photographs of some of the Victorian villas and terraced houses for which the Victorian Society has fought. Often extravagant and fanciful buildings, these buildings are regularly demolished to allow higher density developments in their grounds or make way for flats.

PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS – A photographic survey of some of the best municipal buildings that have been saved or lost. Physical embodiments of the Victorians’ strong sense of civic pride and duty, many of these splendid town halls, libraries, swimming pools, museums, art galleries and post offices still add much to the rich character of British towns and cities today.

BEACONS OF THE FUTURE – A survey of some of the Society’s most recent campaigns, focusing on the battle for Victorian schools and swimming pools. Among the battles highlighted are the protest and funeral for Bonner School, the Public Inquiry for Easington Colliery School and the local campaign for the Moseley Road Baths in Birmingham.

THE VICTORIANS VICTORIOUS – Photographs of some of the most notable Victorian buildings used and valued today.

In conjunction with the exhibition, James Macaulay will present Saving a Century?, a talk at the Mitchell Library on Tuesday 1 October at 6.00. All welcome. Admission £4.00.

Click here for further information: SAC Glasgow poster _2013_JMacaulay_poster_rev G

Photographer Robert Trotter dies aged 83

Robert Trotter as Mr Murdoch STV High Road

Robert Trotter as Mr Murdoch STV High Road

We were saddened to hear of the death of the photographer Robert Trotter, who died yesterday aged 83.

Trotter (1930-2013) was an actor, director and photographer who was active in the Scottish arts scene since the 1960s. After completing National Service in the 1950s he trained as a teacher, taught English at Bellahouston Academy in Glasgow and became a Lecturer in Drama at Glasgow University in 1965. He worked continuously on stage, radio and television since the late 1960s with his work reaching a worldwide audience when he joined the cast of the long-running TV drama Take the High Road in 1982.

Sing the City Exhibition, Glasgow, 2004

New York, Glasgow: from the crowd, exhibition, Glasgow, 2004

Later in life, in the 1990s he immersed himself in street photography.  In 2001 he published Sing the City a collection of his own photography of Glasgow and New York.  Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections holds around 300 of his photographs. This collection comprises images and text from his exhibition New York, Glasgow: from the crowd, a collection which emphasizes the similarity between city life in Glasgow and New York, which was held at Glasgow School of Art School of Design Atrium Gallery in 2004.

Our Robert Trotter collection catalogue can be viewed on the Archives Hub.

Thomas Annan’s images of Glasgow’s past

Image credit: University of Glasgow Library Special Collections

Image credit: University of Glasgow Library Special Collections

Thomas Annan – The Old Closes and Streets of Glasgow, Sp Coll Dougan 64

The Glasgow photographer Thomas Annan’s collection of photographs featuring the old closes and streets of Glasgow held in the University of Glasgow Library’s Special Collections is a wonderful resource. Created between 1868 and 1871 as part of a commission from the City of Glasgow Improvements Trust, this collection of images of the working class areas of old Glasgow helped document the impoverished living conditions of the working class at the time.

In 1866, the City of Glasgow passed an act through Parliament which authorised it to destroy the appalling slums of the City Parish. When it was decided in 1868 to make an effort to document the character and conditions of the old town, Thomas Annan was the obvious choice. Annan had previously photographed some of the busier thoroughfares of Glasgow, providing us with some historic record of the city’s more populous streets. When his focus was shifted to the confining closes, he provided us with another kind of record: the earliest comprehensive series of photographs of an urban slum – the very slum which was considered to be the worst in Britain.

Image credit: University of Glasgow Library Special Collections

Image credit: University of Glasgow Library Special Collections

Thomas Annan’s son James Craig Annan is the photographer behind many of the most famous images of our very own Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Image courtesy T. & R. Annan & Sons Ltd.

Image courtesy T. & R. Annan & Sons Ltd.

For more information visit the University of Glasgow Library’s Special Collections website. Check out their online collection highlights and virtual displays for more inspiration.

RIBA Bedford Lemere & Co online exhibition

The latest online exhibition from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) provides a comprehensive platform for exploring the architectural photography of Bedford Lemere & Co.
‘Recording the New’ is a plotted history of the establishment, rise and reputation of the photography firm between 1870 and 1930, revealing images from the photography firm’s vast portfolio and snapshots of the public archive, held by English Heritage. Based on the exhibition of the same name held at the V&A in 2011, it is a glimpse into the ongoing project by English Heritage to conserve, catalogue and scan their archive of photographs and negatives- one of the largest relating to the photography firm. The aim is to make digital copies of all the images accessible online. 8,000 can already be searched through the English Heritage Archives, providing those impressed by the exhibition with a further avenue for research.
Formed towards the end of the nineteenth century by founders Bedford Lemere and son Harry, the London-based photography company documented changes to Britain as it teetered uncertainly on the brink of the twentieth century and then advanced into the new technological age. Architect clients and designers commissioned the firm to take photographs of new works from large-scale architectural works to domestic interiors and new urban developments. Today these photographs of now historic settings and features provide a visual record of our heritage. They are also key examples of the period’s growing interest in the medium of photography as a means of capturing pioneering change.
GSA Library hold two collections of photographs by Bedford Lemere; one taken of Glasgow City Chambers and another of interiors designed by influential designers including Morris & Co. and Grinling Gibbons. These can be consulted in the Mackintosh Library. The Archives & Collection Centre also keep photographs taken of the Art School in 1910. For an appointment to view either item, visit the Librarians’ Office on Level 1 of the Library, or see contact details for the School’s archive at this link.

RCAHMS now on Flickr

View of clock-tower at Singer's Sewing Machine Factory, Clydebank. Demolished 15 March 1963. Image credit: RCAHMS

View of clock-tower at Singer’s Sewing Machine Factory, Clydebank.
Demolished 15 March 1963. Image credit: RCAHMS

RCAHMS (The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland) has launched a Flickr site.

RCAHMS collects, records and interprets information on the architectural, industrial, archaeological and maritime heritage of Scotland. It holds an archive of over 18 million items including photographs and albums from the 1840s to the present day, original architects’ drawings, excavation plans, new survey drawings, engravings, sketches, books, manuscripts and maps, offering a unique insight into the special nature of Scotland’s places. RCAHMS’ database Canmore contains images and information on over 300,000 archaeological and architectural sites across Scotland, and over 150,000 images are available to view online on their website.

RCAHMS will be updating their Flickr site with images from their collection regularly. So far they have published a lovely photo of the Singer Sewing Machine Factory in Clydebank, and The Fife Earth Project at Lassodie.

Visit their Flickr, and see the RCAHMS website for more information.