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SALFORD DESTROYS TREE OF KNOWLEDGE
 

SAVE THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE!
CULTURAL VANDALISM SALFORD STYLE

Star date 3rd August 2009

Only in Salford could the Tree of Knowledge be demolished! 

Tomorrow, Tuesday 4th August 2009, Salford's Tree of Knowledge is due to be demolished. The Tree of Knowledge is a huge, outstanding ceramic sculpture that currently adorns the end wall of the former Irwell Valley High School (latterly part of the University of Salford's visual art department), near the Cromwell roundabout in Charlestown.

It's the only 20th Century ceramic mural in Salford and is described as `important and special' by the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society (TACS), which adds that it is "Tragic that Salford's heritage is being destroyed without due consideration".

 There's basically only 24 hours to save the Tree of Knowledge…

20.08.09  - Tree of Knowledge now Listed!!!


Salford's Tree of Knowledge The Tree of Knowledge The Tree of Knowledge
click image to enlarge

First unveiled in 1962 at the opening of Cromwell Secondary School for Girls, the Tree of Knowledge was commissioned by the original headmistress, who, legend has it, was offered the budget for either a swimming pool or a sculpture. She went for the sculpture and it's now become, not only a local landmark but also an artwork that's of major importance to Salford.

The Tree, which has almost an Aztec feel, was designed by Alan Boyson and features an owl, representing wisdom, overlooking the flowering of knowledge. Its material include ancient ceramics found on the site when it was first developed, and loads of ice age pebbles extracted from the original foundation work.

"I think I can speak for every ex-Irwell Valley pupil here regarding that mural, because it has been a fascination for every one of us" says Eddie Smith, a former pupil at Irwell Valley High School "It will be a tragedy if it ends up as a pile of rubble, because Salford City Council doesn't seem to give a care about our heritage."

A representative of the Twentieth Century Society told TACS "It would be such a shame to lose such a distinctive and attractive work of art."

TACS is now calling for a suspension of demolition work to allow time for a rescue plan.

Salford Star is currently waiting for a comment from the Council/University but in the meantime we urge everyone to write to Council Leader, John Merry, to express their disgust…
Councillor.Merry@salford.gov.uk

Stop Press 5pm: Demolition of Tree of Knowledge halted!

See the story here 

and part 3 here

Jan Lambden wrote
at 07:57:16 on 06 August 2009
We must do everything possible to save THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE it is part of our history. I attended Cromwell Girls School from 1968- 1971 as did my sisters . Miss Bewick was our Head Teacher and Mrs Mason was the Deputy Head. The Mural was always a talking point with us girls and the teachers too please please do not destroy such a beautiful piece of art it is part of our past and our future It should be protected and enjoyed for future generations Jan
 
Councillor Lynn Drake.(nee.Popay) wrote
at 16:36:38 on 04 August 2009
I have already sent an email to Stephen Kingston on this, for me this is really sad, as I was one of the first New pupils at this school and actually on the photograph. This school was then called Cromwell Girls school, with large Domestic Science classrooms,(teacher Miss Fawcett and Mrs Whitehead) large sewing classroom(Miss Daniels& Miss Fawcett) top of the range gym (teacher Mrs Rossell I think) and shower rooms, and a flat where you had to run this for a week so many of you from your form,cleaning,ironing,washing,making menus cooking and at the end of the week inviting a teacher or sometimes the Head Mistress who at that time was Miss Bewick (if any of you remember). I would be nice if any of the ex pupils could write down their memories about their time at Cromwell Girls School, and before I forget we were all told about the tree of knowledge I would say on a daily basis, and once I had to draw is in an art class,and every time I used to pass my old school I would have very fond memories of my friends and teachers who where at Cromwell Girls School.
 
Lola Baquero wrote
at 05:51:09 on 04 August 2009
I am Alan Boyson´s daughter in law. We are all very happy becouse the demolition has been stopped. Thank you everybody and !Congratulations from Spain Alan!.
 
Ian 'OB' Obrien wrote
at 19:07:32 on 03 August 2009
Typical that Salford Council had to have the importance of this piece of our cultural heritage pointed out to them. If not for the Star it would be rubble by now,. And these are the people who constantly bleat on about representing thepeople of salford? Where was 'Witch' Hazel when this plan was being discussed? I thought she had left parliament to do what she loves i.e. 'champion the people of Salford' - or some such drivle. Nowq it remains to see, if they do 'save' it - if it is saved in the same way as the arch gateway to the old bus station of Frederick Road. If I remember correctly that was to stay in tact, with all of it's stoneowrk etc. Now there are just a few non descript blocks left. But at least the students have a comfy gated community to live (while the people of salford struggle to get a two bed flat on the 15th floor of a tower block). Rant over. Keep up the good work guys. And start charing 50p or something for the star, keep it in hard copy print!
 
Eddie Smith wrote
at 18:11:54 on 03 August 2009
Demolition has been stopped and the council are now looking into whether it is possible to preserve it. Lets hope so.
 
Cath Connett wrote
at 18:11:33 on 03 August 2009
I'm cringing with disgust. I can't believe this isn't being treasured. For ourselves of course, but also ....we've nowt to bring in the tourists!
 
Stella wrote
at 16:55:27 on 03 August 2009
Yet another sad,sad story of a group of Philistines destoying Salford People's heritage,Has this council never heard of CONSERVATION.
 
Bill, Salford wrote
at 16:55:17 on 03 August 2009
Over ninety percent of the built environment has been erased in Salford in the past forty years. This has resulted in massive heatlth and social polarisation issues. A virtually un parallelled track record in destruction. Surely it cannot be possible to continue systematically eradicating everyone's collective history, identity and culture. The mistakes of the past continue to be ignored and the perpetual cylcle of extracting profit from lucrative land values, multiple apartment blocks and taxes continue at a ferocious pace.
 
Dee wrote
at 15:47:28 on 03 August 2009
Save the "Tree of Knowledge" Most of us have lost the places of our birth and our places of learning to the bulldozer .... the Tree of Knowledge should not suffer the same fate. Act now or be the Philistines of the modern age.
 
debbie wrote
at 15:47:01 on 03 August 2009
Lets' see Sense, Wisdom does'nt equate Salford Council never has never will
 
ann bannister wrote
at 14:47:20 on 03 August 2009
When will this Council STOP demolishing or removing historical buildings and objects of interest. They show time and time again they are NOT a Council of CULTURE. It's definitely time for a change!!
 
Richard Carvath wrote
at 14:47:10 on 03 August 2009
I will email John Merry now.
 
Michelle Dawson wrote
at 14:47:06 on 03 August 2009
I was quite frankly appalled to read the article dated 3rd August on the Salford Star website,'SALFORD DESTROYS TREE OF KNOWLEDGE.' Ripping down this small piece of sunshine in a time when both the economic and weather climate is so dismal is just another kick in the teeth for Salford Residence who have already been let down enough this year. Perfect time for Hazel to regain some credibility!? A very disillusioned, Michelle.
 
Lee Craven wrote
at 14:14:52 on 03 August 2009
This will be a disater for the local community of Charlestown and of Salford to lose such art as this SOS PLEASE SAVE AND RE-SIGHT ELSE WHERE IN CHARLESTOWN
 
RJ wrote
at 14:14:21 on 03 August 2009
Just about sums up Salford council perfectly, whose own supply of wisdom has been curtailed by far too many years in power. Can this city not do anything right by its citizens? They may not be investing in the area brining jobs and opportunities (ha!) but they did vote for you...
 
beryl patten wrote
at 14:13:27 on 03 August 2009
Boyson’s murals are included in several local authority conservation plans – why not Salford’s? At least remove and store for future use!!!! Extracts from "A period of extraordinary fecundity: a survey of postwar murals" Paper to be given at the TACS Postwar Murals Study day, Tuesday 20th November 2007, The Gallery, Cowcross Street, London EC1. This paper is based on the article ‘Roughcast textures with cosmic overtones: a survey of British murals, 1945-80’, Decorative Arts Society Journal (2007), vol 31. The Labour politician Anthony Crosland, in his 1956 book The Future of Socialism, wanted Britain to become ‘a more colourful and civilised country to live in’. To achieve this we needed, amongst other things, ‘more open-air cafés.... later closing hours for public houses.... more pleasure gardens on the Battersea model.... more murals and pictures in public places.... and statues in the centre of new housing estates’. What resulted, even apart from the Festival murals, was that more than 600 large scale murals, in a huge range of materials, were installed in Britain between the war and 1980. Over half of these are still extant, although they rarely get any mention in art historical publications. The 60 feet long Greenwich Mural, whose theme is the maritime history of Greenwich, was commissioned for an external wall of Greenwich District Hospital. It was moved to a nearby park when the hospital was closed in 2001. Three Ships, a tribute to Hull’s fishermen commissioned by the Co-op; it’s an Italian glass mosaic by the Wolverhampton artist Alan Boyson and measures well over 4,000 square feet
 
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