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TOURIST SHOCK IN SALFORD
 

Star date: 10th June 2011 

TOURISTS COME TO EAST SALFORD TO SEE FAMOUS LISTED MURAL – SO HOW DID SALFORD CITY COUNCIL RESPOND?

"There's never been a better time to visit. We look forward to seeing you in Salford soon" From Salford City Council's `Visit Salford' tourist website.

A bus load of tourists from all over the country is coming to Charlestown this Saturday to view Alan Boyson's Grade II Listed Tree of Knowledge sculpture, sited near the Cromwell roundabout.

With Salford City Council now trying to push heritage and tourism you might think they would be welcomed with open arms – a personal greeting from the Mayor maybe?

In yer dreams! So how did Salford Council treat the prospective tourists?

Click here to cringe!


Tree of Knowledge Salford Alan Boyson Screen at Pendleton College Tree of Knowledge Salford
Tree of Knowledge Salford Tree of Knowledge Salford Tree of Knowledge Salford
click image to enlarge

"There's never been a better time to visit. We look forward to seeing you in Salford soon"
From Salford City Council's `Visit Salford' tourist website.

Alan Boyson's Tree of Knowledge mural, granted Grade II listed status by the government two years ago recognising its historical and architectural importance, is now drawing tourists.

A coach is due to arrive on Saturday afternoon to see the fab sculpture close up, the highlight of an Alan Boyson Bus Tour around the North West organised by the Twentieth Century Society with the Manchester Modernist Society and the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society. It's a major honour for Salford's heritage to be recognised by such prestigious organisations, as Boyson's reputation grows and grows.

At the moment, the Tree of Knowledge stands in the middle of the derelict, padlocked site of the former Cromwell school and can only be viewed from the pavement over 100 yards away. So the organisers of the trip wrote to Salford Council asking for access…

Salford Council's Regeneration department, we understand, didn't bother to reply to the request. Next up was the Education and Young People's Service which also ignored e-mails. Perhaps the Tourism department would be enthused? They didn't want to know!

After months of e-mails flying at Salford Council, the council's joint venture company Urban Vision wrote back with this dismissive reply: "I'm advised that although the site is secured, The Tree of Knowledge is clearly visible to visitors from the pavement, and entry on to the site is not necessary."

After further protests, Urban Vision finally conceded to open the gates – for a fee of £50!

If this is how Salford treats its tourists, god help Ordsall Hall etc.

Perhaps the Council finds it all a bit embarrassing. After all, it was about to bulldoze the priceless mural before the Salford Star, its supporters and the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society stepped in to save it (see here for full details).

The Tree of Knowledge was commissioned from Alan Boyson in the 1960s for the old Cromwell Secondary School near Cromwell roundabout in Charlestown. In summer 2009 Salford Council was about to demolish it, literally the next day, when people from the community demanded that it be saved.

An e-mail and facebook campaign was swiftly launched against the Council's cultural vandalism, demolition was deferred and within weeks the Tree of Knowledge had been Grade II nationally listed by the Government - the Department of Culture, Media and Sport recognising the work as a "rare surviving example of a bespoke 1960s ceramic mural" with a "high level of aesthetic and artistic quality".

The Alan Boyson Day Bus Tour is being led by Christopher Marsden, of the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society, who also helped to secure listed status for the Tree of Knowledge.

"I think it is great fun, a magnificent piece for any community" he says "However Salford's Tree of Knowledge is important as a major piece of art demonstrating top class ceramics, graphics and mixed media to great effect in school environment. I hope it was inspirational to pupils.

"It is very much a piece of its time; a competent artist working for the benefit of a school community - no community involvement, no consultation, no interpretative material and unsigned. It is also significant as the community gave it support when it was threatened, and that affection led to it being listed when the building it was on had no real architectural merit."

"Alan Boyson's work is now being recognised and appreciated across the country" he concludes "His work in Hull, Derby and Corby is intact and has local support. Since so much has been lost it is lovely to think the Tree of Knowledge led the interest. Some of the people on the tour will have seen his work in Hull. Others will have seen his work in Corby. Some will recall his lost work in Lichfield and Liverpool. The work is important for tourism. I hope Salford Council realises it."

Perhaps next time a coach load of tourists come to see our heritage Salford Council will be more welcoming. Even if the Mayor of Salford won't be turning up to greet the tour bus, the Salford Star will certainly be there…

There are still a few places left on the tour bus for anyone wanting to see Alan Boyson's other work around the North West. It runs 10:30am-5pm this Saturday June 11th (meet Fairfield Street entrance of Manchester Piccadilly rail station at 10.30am cost £25/£23)

• There's still no word from Salford Council on what it intends to do with the Tree of Knowledge

• There is one other work by Alan Boyson still remaining in Salford – some concrete screens on the side of Pendleton (now Salford) College. They were covered in advertising hoardings. Last year the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society successfully got the college to remove them after submitting a planning enforcement request.

• There was another Alan Boyson work on Swinton Precinct, opened by Ken Dodd in 1969. It was a huge abstract fibreglass sculpture on the Upper Level which, unfortunately, ended up on the Lower Level after local kids tipped it over. Salford Council workers then put a chain around it and dragged it off, apparently causing more damage to the sculpture than the original fall. No-one has ever seen or heard of it since. If anyone knows the sculpture's whereabouts or has a photo of it please get in touch.

Main Photo: shows the view the tourists would have had from the pavement of the Tree of Knowledge

UPDATED 12th June 2011 - click here for details

 


 

Ed Foye wrote
at 07:41:40 on 14 June 2011
Is the statue of Oliver Cromwell still outside Buille Hill mansion , in the garden ? Somebody used to paint his nose red in summer, and blue in winter .
 
gertie ollershaw wrote
at 18:04:09 on 12 June 2011
The tea lady would make more rational decisions , unlike the clowns in clown hall
 
mary ferrer wrote
at 22:01:23 on 11 June 2011
I do hope the person who said that Bexley Sq Courts is on the hit list of the council is wrong, god they can't be that thick up at the civic to want to knock that building down.The most brain dead moron can see the need to keep it. There again we are talking Salford council. Have we got a conservation officer or is the tea lady doing a doubel shift,just wondered.
 
Dr Shane Sullivan wrote
at 20:27:16 on 11 June 2011
This is typical of the council and typical of the way this area of Salford has been treated over the last 20 years. Kersal in particular has been shockingly neglected and the NDC was a waste of money. In 20 years this area has seen a new park and a sports centre. In terms of heritage look at the treatment of Kersal Cell. This is the second oldest building in Salford. For decades it was allowed to falls into disrepair and almost disappeared in the 1980s. Now it is a half modernised mess. And the latest we heard the owners were tyring for planning permission for a garage on the place. It is only a matter of time before "the Tree of Knowledge" disappears for good.
 
gertie ollershaw wrote
at 20:27:10 on 11 June 2011
What concerns me regarding the derelict land is that the council must have forgotton to let their pals TESCO know about it .
 
irwellian wrote
at 20:27:05 on 11 June 2011
The love affair between Salford council and Bulldozers has no limits, and they have no understanding of anything standing which could be of local or tourist interest, whether Artwork or buildings. the heathens are living in the Town hall..and they also want to demolish Bexley Square old town hall...........you couldn't make this up...
 
Fadge wrote
at 20:26:55 on 11 June 2011
The pathetic wasters in the un-civic centre will not understand what Heritage means .Perhaps The Braindead 'leaders' need to appoint a' tourism and heritage executive' and waste another 200 grand on another bullshitter to join the rest .
 
Eddie wrote
at 07:05:53 on 11 June 2011
The main thing that concerns me is, how long will the land remain derelict? Surely there are plans somewhere in the pipeline for that land, so what will become of the mural if it is in the way and there is no money to move it? Funny how they can find money to waste on the A6 road works that the vast majority of people don't want.
 
Phil hamer wrote
at 07:05:36 on 11 June 2011
There is now doughtthat the Tree of Knowledge is important as a major piece of art and belongs to Salford and are exstremely lucky to have especialy whith what would have hapend to it if poplewould not have steped in and made a great fuss. which in this case was ost certanly right . as a work of art and let alone what it is worth as a national work of art. it must be looked after ?? and placed in a prominet place for all to see and could well fitt into the changes along the cresent i personaly feel .this is SALFORD hERITAGE .AND I FOR ONE WOULD FIGHT TO KEEP IT SO MUCH HAS BEEN LOST OF LATE I CAN SEE . and we need to look at what we have left. change for the better yes i say .but one must always remember are rooots.and prtect what is are Salford Heritage..phil hamer
 
Chris Marsden wrote
at 07:05:15 on 11 June 2011
Sorry Paul, your story, although a good one, is a myth and a common one. I have examples of "We voted for a pool but got.." from many towns. Actually Cromwell Road did have a pool when it opened, an ornamental one (see Salford Reporter 2 Nov 1962)and the head teacher was a woman.
 
Harry Toon wrote
at 07:05:03 on 11 June 2011
The worst thing that ever happened to our proud Lancashire towns was Heritage - hating Salford council getting their grubby hands on them . The decimation and destruction is complete . Eccles , Swinton , Pendlebury reduced to jobless , hopeless , concrete jungles fit for nothing but obliteration and re-population with zombie creatures -the same as the Braindead Ones that infest the slavic centre .
 
Sasha wrote
at 20:53:18 on 10 June 2011
I know that Oasis Academy wanted the Tree of Knowledge in their new grounds, not sure how far they've got with that or if they've changed their mind.
 
Heather Rawlinson wrote
at 19:24:57 on 10 June 2011
Maybe if they move the sculpture to Media City the great and good of our "City" will bother to turn up. It appears that this area of Salford is the only one which draws them out. We should be trying to spread the effect of our heritage all over Salford instead of just cramming it all into one small area.
 
Paul Brighouse wrote
at 19:24:47 on 10 June 2011
My wife's family is from down there. Seemingly the school had the choice of the Tree of Life or a swimming pool. I bet the kids hated the Headteacher after he decided....
 
Em3 wrote
at 15:38:12 on 10 June 2011
How about asking salford uni to pay for a little park around this fantastic work of art? it seems to have a bit of dosh to spare now most of the lecturers have gone!
 
Mary Ferrer wrote
at 15:38:05 on 10 June 2011
A long,long time ago I came to the concluion Salford City council have no interest or passion for the heritage of this city. How mant times have the people of Salford had to say "hang on,what the hell are you doing" Residents had to contact outside bodies to bring to the attention of the council a building or artwork that needs protecting,that for what ever reason the council want to remove to the nearest skip or attack with a bulldozer. At the moment we have the Charles Barry Mansion house in Buile Hill park tinned up for 11 years. Planning permission was given 3 years ago to Wilkinson/Watson to convert the house and build a hotel that looks like a very cheap Premier Inn. We all know they haven't the money to move forward with this project and come on in todays financial climate is it the right time to open a hotel. Now they are asking for an extention on the planning permission for another 3 years. the panel were told 3 years ago the house was in danger of decay if left any longer,yet the council who STILL own the building, no money or contracts have been exchanged, are allowing this GRADE 2 Listed building stand empty. Why won't the council work with the community group who would setup a preservation trust apply for external funding and the plan was to put the banqueting hall in the mansion, with a small extention on the footprint of the glasshouse which was at the side of the mansion. But we are talking Salford Council and the words PASSION,VISION, HERITAGE are something they know NOUGHT about. Saving our heritage is down to the people of Salford.
 
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