Sunday, 24 March 2019

Setting - Keswick in The English Lakes WHS

Hmmmmm..... How to express the concept of 'setting' and to deal with the vast wealth of evidence that I am finding related to Keswick.  It is quite mind-boggling in trying to synthesise how the setting of Keswick contributes to its significance.   Can or should we separate the 'setting' of Keswick Conservation Area (a concept defined in the planning guidance) from the wider concept of the Outstanding Universal Value of the English Lakes?   The guidance calls for it whilst the pressures of development exist.   The list of associations is immense:
Wordsworth, Shelley, Coleridge, Southey, Lamb, West, Farington, Turner, Wright, Ruskin, and so the list goes on......
and then there is Ebeneezer Howard, Canon Rawnsley, Keswick School of Industrial Arts...

Keswick as seen from Castlehead - © Mel Morris Conservation

Tuesday, 19 March 2019


I have definitely not seen this before!  Amethyst and coral stuck into a gatepost.    Enjoying getting to know Keswick Conservation Area for the Lake District National Park.  I do love my job.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Historic Skyline - Derby

Currently preparing a study of the historic skyline for Derby City Council.
The beautiful Cathedral Church of All Saints tower of 1532.

Bullsmoor Inquiry Decision out - Derwent Valley Mills WHS

Very happy with this decision and to have my expert witness testimony endorsed.  Development of mixed use and employment schemes dismissed and refused by Inspector and endorsed by the Secretary of State.  A good decision and valuable precedent, confirming the important contribution that the Buffer Zone can make as part of the setting of the World Heritage Site, and confirming that this part is a valued landscape.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Chester Town Hall - gothic splendour

Just completing a programme of survey and assessment of Chester Town Hall for CWaCC, the splendid Grade II* building designed by William Henry Lynn and completed in 1869 in accordance with Ruskin's philosophy on 'Gothic' architecture.   Letters from the architect provide a fascinating insight into the client / architect relationship and reveal how, despite the intervening 150 years, his comments are as fresh as if he wrote them yesterday. A very enjoyable experience to get sucked into the detail of this building and discover its intricacies.

The Grand Staircase Hall with stained glass windows by Heaton Butler and Bayne

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Early Rock Garden?

Is this a very early surviving example of a Rock Garden, built in 1806, or is it a twentieth century mash-up?  Feedback welcomed.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

The old Bishop's Palace in Chester - a green light for a wedding venue

Great news! We have helped to secure listed building consent and planning permission for the change of use of the old Bishop's Palace in Chester from offices to a Wedding Venue.  Really looking forward to seeing the wonderful interiors come to life with a sensitive scheme.

Our involvement with the building started early in 2016 when we were commissioned to undertake an appraisal to inform potential alterations.  Our detailed Statement of Significance at the start of the process has informed the current scheme and we have gone on to prepare a detailed Heritage Impact Assessment and work closely with the new owners (Sanguine), the architects (Edge), Historic England and the local authority to secure the most sensitive scheme - a great new use for this Grade II* gem, which has been vacant for some time.
See article below:

"The dog seeing its reflection" - one of Aesop's fables in the exquisite 1754 Drawing Room plasterwork
The initials of Bishop Peploe's daughter (Mary Peploe) and the family crest on a lead rainwater hopper of c.1741 - note the 'human eye shedding drops of tears' on the stag's head