HOME   ARCHIVE   GALLERY   SHOP   ABOUT US      
 

 
SALFORD TREE OF KNOWLEDGE SAVED
 

Star date: 20th August 2009

TREE OF KNOWLEDGE LISTED!
SALFORD STAR PEOPLE POWER SAVES PRICELESS SCULPTURE!

Salford's Tree of Knowledge has been declared of national interest by the Government, which has now designated the mural Grade II in the national list of protected `buildings of special architectural or historic interest'. 

The ceramic sculpture was due to be demolished by Salford Council but a speedy campaign launched through the Salford Star website managed to halt the demolition. Now the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has recognised the Tree of Knowledge as a "rare surviving example of a bespoke 1960s ceramic mural" with a "high level of aesthetic and artistic quality".

A news release today by the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society states: "If it had not been for the Salford Star's readers protest against the imminent thoughtless demolition of the Tree of Knowledge, Salford Council would have crushed the mural within hours."

Now, despite Salford Council acting fast to halt the demolition, questions must be asked about how it managed to get into the position of being hours away from demolishing an artwork of national importance…

For the full story click here…


The Tree of Knowledge The Tree of Knowledge The Tree of Knowledge
The Tree of Knowledge
click image to enlarge

HOW THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGED WAS SAVED

It was on the morning of the 3rd August that the Salford Star first heard via the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society (TACS) of plans to demolish the Tree of Knowledge - a huge stunning ceramic mural sited on the wall of the old Castle Irwell School near the Cromwell roundabout in Charlestown. 

We went down to the site and were told that it was due to be demolished, along with the rest of the building, the following day. By 11am we had the story and photos on the website, and sent the link to thousands of our supporters via Facebook, Twitter and our e-mailing list. We urged them to e-mail John Merry, Leader of Salford Council, relaying their disgust at this act of cultural vandalism – only in Salford could the Tree of Knowledge be demolished!

Literally within minutes of the story appearing on the website, comments and e-mails began flooding in showing the strength of community support for this priceless piece of our city's heritage. By 5pm that day Salford Council had backed down, the demolition had been halted and Salford Council Leader, John Merry confirmed that "demolition has been stopped and I am now looking into the matter with a view to preserving the mural if possible..."

Later that evening we received an e-mail from TACS saying that Alan Boyson, creator of the Tree of Knowledge, was `chuffed' with the campaign; and that advisors from English Heritage were to visit the site to see if the artwork could be listed, after being impressed by the level of community support for the mural. TACS was now working with the Council on the possibility of salvaging the Tree of Knowledge.

Meanwhile, all the e–mails and comments the Salford Star received were passed onto English Heritage, which subsequently passed them on to the Government, recommending that the Tree of Knowledge be protected.  Last night we heard that the Government agreed and has listed the Tree of Knowledge as Grade II.

Make no mistake about it – without Salford's community protesting about the sculpture's demolition so quickly and so articulately, this "rare surviving example of a bespoke 1960s ceramic mural" with a "high level of aesthetic and artistic quality" would now be rubble…

Instead, the Department of Culture Media and Sport listed the Tree of Knowledge as `Blandford Road – Mural at former Cromwell Secondary School II' and gave it a catalogue number 507448.

Now we are urging Salford's community to ensure that the Tree of Knowledge is looked after and await a comment from Salford City Council on its plans for the listed artwork…

 

`A National Precedent Has Been Set'…
Read the full press release issued by the Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society today…

The Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society (TACS) is delighted at the
government's decision to list Salford's Tree of Knowledge at Grade II
because of its special architectural or historic interest.

Ben Bradshaw, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport has
recognised the national importance of the 1962 sculptural ceramic mural
by listing the mural for these principal reasons:

• It has a high level of aesthetic and artistic quality represented in a bold
and striking composition depicting a stylised and symbolic tree of
knowledge with songbirds , and an owl of wisdom;

• Its clever of colour, incised decoration, textures and mixed media,
including ceramics, concrete, tiles and pebbles, combine to produce a
highly distinctive and impressive work of art;

• It is a rare surviving example of a bespoke 1960s ceramic mural which
was produced by the successful and prolific artist, Alan Boyson;

• It is a good example of the integration between art and architecture, and
the 1950s/60s policy of enhancing communities through the incorporation
of public art in the public realm.

TACS wishes to thank English Heritage and the DCMS for their prompt
action in processing the society's listing request of 3 August. It has taken
just 16 days to list this post-war mural.

If it not been for the Salford Star's readers protest against the imminent
thoughtless demolition of the Tree of Knowledge, Salford Council would
have crushed the mural within hours. Thanks to the Salford Star and its
readers. Thanks also to Salford Council for acting quickly once the
significance of the mural was drawn to the council leader's attention.

Chris Marsden, Conservation Secretary of TACS said "With public pressure
leading to the halting of demolition, the listing process has been allowed to
go through and has resulted in a degree of protection. That is great news.
However there will be change. The Salford Council has plans to clear the
site and in the long-term develop playing fields. It is important that a
watch be kept on the decision process by Salford residents and groups
so that any proposal affecting the mural is made in the open and with
public support".

Sadly, Britain's fine stock of murals is not always cherished. As changing
fashions, weather, vandalism and commercial pressures take their toll.
Some have been demolished or even buried, as in the shocking case of
Plymouth's Armada Way subway mural (1987-8, Edward Pond and
Kenneth Clark), filled in by the local council in 2004. Most recently, in
autumn 2008, the magnificent mosaic 'An Eye for the People' by Ray
Howard-Jones (1903-96) which had decorated Cardiff's Thomson House
since 1959 was unceremoniously reduced to rubble along with the rest of
the building.

Chris Marsden said "Salford will set a national precedent. Here the mural
was listed whilst the building it is part of is without significance. The
mural is now recognised as being of Salford and of national importance.
Public art murals can no longer be dismissed as incidental when they have
the qualities of The Tree of Knowledge.

"TACS will continue to research the Tree of Knowledge and its related
works and will work with Salford Council and others to secure the best
possible outcome for this amazing mural".

Read The English Heritage History of The Tree of Knowledge…

Cromwell Secondary School for Girls opened in 1962. The school was designed by Cruickshank & Seward of Manchester, and constructed by W. Fearnley & Sons. The architects commissioned the artist, Alan Boyson (b.1930), to produce a mural for the exterior of the school and a ceramic tiled wall for the entrance hall, at a cost of £400. The ceramic tiled wall has since been lost. Included in the mural design were water-worn pebbles from Ice-Age deposits and historic ceramic fragments that were found on the site prior to the school's construction. The school later changed names and eventually became part of Salford University, which moved out in c.2008.

Alan Boyson trained at the Manchester Regional School of Art from 1950-4 under the ceramicist Lester Campion, and subsequently at the Royal College of Art from 1954-7 under the tutorage of Robert Baker, Professor of Ceramics. After his studies, Boyson lectured in the Ceramics Department at Wolverhampton School of Art from c.1959-61, and whilst there, he established his own studio and began to produce studio work and small commissions.

The Cromwell School work was the first of many large commissions for Boyson, who worked all over the country. It is not known how many of Boyson's works survive, but some of his works included the 'Three Ships' mural on the former Co-operative building, Hull (locally listed); a ceramic tiled wall and two concrete screens at another school in Salford; a ceramic memorial at the Birmingham Oratory; a sculptured aluminium banking hall ceiling at the Bank of England, Leeds; stainless steel piece in the NatWest Tower, London (late 1970s); a glass screen and decorative ceiling in the Halifax Building Society HQ, Halifax (1970s).

It is known that two of Boyson's works survive in listed buildings: an abstract Art Deco-style memorial window in the grade II listed St Ann's Church, Manchester, and a decorative concrete mural in the grade II listed Co-Operative Insurance Society (CIS) Building, Manchester. Alan Boyson is an Associate of the Royal College of Art (ARCA) and continued producing large-scale and small-scale works until c.1999 and c.2004 respectively.

ann pollitt [bailey] wrote
at 21:09:40 on 06 December 2012
loved my schooldays left in 65 it was so sad to see the school being demolished so glad the tree of knowledge is being saved, not much of the salford of my childhood left
 
jan williams lambden wrote
at 15:42:49 on 20 August 2009
This has been the best 7 days for a long time last Friday 14th Aug Cromwell Girls of 1971 had our 1st Reunion some of us have also got a memento of our school ( a brick) which we took from the rubble and which we will all cherish and now to hear the Tree of Knowledge is saved it is overwhelming Thank You from all who attended Cromwell Secondary Modern School from the bottom of our hearts this means so much to us all we are having another get together in November so we will be celebrating Thank You Jan
 
Manchester Modernist Society wrote
at 10:18:50 on 20 August 2009
Congratulations on this last minute reprieve - keep it up. Jack
 
Geoff Brown wrote
at 10:04:10 on 20 August 2009
Once again, hearty congratulations to the Salford Star. A real victory over the bureaucrats and the property developers and an encouragement to us all to fight for what we believe in. Geoff
 
Please enter your comment below:
 
 
 
Giraffe
Salford Star contact
Deli Lama
advertisement
 
Contact us
phone: 07957 982960
Facebook       Twitter
 
 
Recent comments
article: SALFORD STAR SAVED AS £3,000 RAISED BY THE COMMUNITY
What a wonderful result which shows how much the Star is respected and how much the community wants it to continue. I was overcome... [more]
article: BUILE HILL PARK HOUSING IS ONLY WAY TO SAVE SALFORD MANSION STATES DEVELOPER
Had we had clowncillors with intelligence and integrity , the mansion would have been maintained as it should have been . Salford... [more]
article: BUILE HILL PARK HOUSING IS ONLY WAY TO SAVE SALFORD MANSION STATES DEVELOPER
As usual, Ray's comment against capitalism does little to answer my point about the £4million.As is unusual ,Mary's point does not... [more]
article: SALFORD PANTO ON THE PARK IN LOWER BROUGHTON
See Nadine's comment below - we think it's only pay on the day!!!... [more]
article: SALFORD PANTO ON THE PARK IN LOWER BROUGHTON
Hi is it ok to pay on the day ? ... [more]
 
 
 
 
 
Days
Hours
Minutes
Seconds
 
 
 

Donate

Help the Salford Star...

all donations welcome

 
 

More articles...

THE MOODS PLAY MUSIC FROM THE NORTH AT BAND ON THE WALL

Star date: 12th December 2018

DON'T MISS THE MOODS AND CO THIS SATURDAY!

Music from the North
The Moods, Pleasures, Glove, Falling Ghosts and DJ Stephen Doyle
Saturday 15th December from 7pm
Band On The Wall £10

This Saturday, there's another brilliant Music from the North gig at Band On The Wall hosted by A1M Records, with Salford Star Best Band Award winners, The Moods and a full line-up of upcoming talent. Ian Leslie catches up with Paul Travis of A1M Records to get the gen.

Full details here...

SALFORD PANTO ON THE PARK IN LOWER BROUGHTON

Star date: 11th December 2018

SALFORD CINDERELLA PLUS DANCE TROUPES AND STALLS

Panto On The Park
Sunday 16th December 12noon-3pm
Green Grosvenor Park, Lower Broughton (suggested donation £1-£2)

This Sunday, 16th December, Up Ere Theatre Group will be performing their own version of Salford's Cinderella in a heated marquee at Green Grosvenor Park in Lower Broughton. There'll also be performances from dance troupes Salford Aces, Urban Angels and JD Dance, plus lots of stalls, face painting and more.

Full details here...

SALFORD STAR SAVED AS £3,000 RAISED BY THE COMMUNITY

Star date: 10th December 2018

NIGEL PIVARO CONCLUDES SALFORD STAR FUNDRAISING WITH SALFORD PRECINCT AUCTION

After two auctions, two exhibitions and a pop-up shop over just ten days, the immediate future of the Salford Star has been saved, with around £3,000 raised by the community.

At Salford Shopping Centre yesterday, over £1,000 was raised as actor and long time Salford Star contributor, Nigel Pivaro conducted an auction of Salford relics and memorabilia... "This isn't just about raising money for the Salford Star" said Nigel "It's also symbolic in terms of raising awareness of what we've done over the years...shining the torch where councils, developers and companies don't like it shone..."

Full details here...

ECCLES COMIC TONY KINSELLA DOES THE UNDERTONES

Star date: 9th December 2018

THE UNDERTONES GET OVERKILL

Tony Kinsella - More Jokes about Girls and Chocolate
Sunday 9th December
Bolton Socialist Club

Eccles comic Tony Kinsella debuts a show dedicated to The Undertones at the Bolton Socialist Club tonight. Ian Leslie checks out the laughs...

Full details here...

SALFORD STAR EXHIBITION, EVENTS AND AUCTION AND WITH NIGEL PIVARO

Star date: 8th December 2018

PICK UP BARGAINS, RELICS AND MORE IN SALFORD STAR EXHIBITION FINAL DAY AT SALFORD PRECINCT

Salford Star Exhibition, Auction and Event
With Nigel Pivaro, Simon Williams, Chris Flynn and Sandra Bouguerch
Sunday 9th December 10am - 4pm (events from 1:30pm/auction around 3pm)
Salford Shopping Centre (next to Lloyds Bank)

Tomorrow sees the final day of the Salford Star pop-up shop and exhibition, with an auction hosted by Nigel Pivaro of weird and wonderful Salford relics and bargain Christmas presents; plus street poetry from the spirit of Salford himself, Simon Williams, songs by the ace Chris Flynn and a Party On performance piece for all the family by artist Sandra Bouguerch.

Full details here...

 



written and produced by Salfordians for Salfordians
with attitude and love xxx