After a long summer, where the work has been in the background at PW, it's back to the campaign trail. Signs of work in progress at The Studio, reported on our social media feeds (small signs needless to say), both encourage and disappoint: piecemeal rather than project, partial steps rather than complete steps, a mere nod to site security, etc. Nevertheless, work has been undertaken, which if continued might lift the air of abandonment so often associated with this magnificent building. We await developments, if not open communication from the owner, with a skeptical eye.
First, the submission of an article 'Preserving Womersley: his architecture and art' for publication in the autumn edition of the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (AHSS) in-house magazine. We were approached by editor Abigail Daly, who nursed this effort from conception to birth with great patience and enthusiasm. You can read the article here. And to receive a copy of the magazine go to the AHSS website – or join the Society!
Developments at PW
Second, the addition of a 'Works' page to the PW website. This is a project that traces the timeline of all Womersley's works in chronological order. It is based on the original work of Matthew Wickens, a Senior Teaching Fellow and the Director of Teaching (UG) for the Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering at Bath University. He was awarded a commendation by RIBA for his dissertation entitled 'The Modern House in Bath - Peter Womersley's Valley Spring'.
For each building, a short biography will be created over time, with an appreciation of the building, a brief history and links to resources for further study or exploration. We have launched the page with three buildings completed: The Studio itself, The Rig (Womersley's Borders home) and the Nuffield Transplant Unit in Edinburgh. Follow this link to explore further.
Help us complete the Works page
In completing the first three building biographies, in addition to our own material, we have had the generous support of organisations and individuals who have existing material or interest and who have willingly agreed to share this with us. For the Nuffield piece, Dr Richard Brook of the Manchester School of Architecture contributed his piece 'Parts of a whole: the elements and unity of the Nuffield Transplantation Surgery Unit. Peter Womersley, 1968', first published in The Modernist issue 26, Spring 2018. And for the Studio, Colin McLean, well known Scottish Borders photographer, allowed us to use his piece 'My Favourite Building, The Bernat Klein Studio, Selkirk' from the Spring 2018 edition of the AHSS magazine.
We have in the works, as it were, pieces on High Sunderland, Bernat Klein's home and an approach has been made to the Gala Fairydean Rovers Football Club for material on their Netherdale stand; in Galashiels; as well possibilities to be pursued have been identified for Valley Spring, the Dingleton Boiler House and the Roxburgh County buildings.
If you have existing written material, published or not, or historic photographs of any of Womerlsey's buildings; if you would like to add to any of the biographies already complete; or if you want to create an appreciation of any other Womersley building, we would like to hear from you.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are looking for anectodal as much as technical material, passion as much as cool consideration, but most of all enthusiasm for Womersley's work.
News from friends and supporters
The community of Womersley supporters is international as well as local. Natascha Drabbe is founding director of Iconic Houses Network
, an international network dedicated to connecting architecturally significant houses and artists’ homes and studios from the 20th century, with a particular focus on those that are open to the public or those that are at risk. You can find her piece on the Klein Studio here
. Scroll down to Calls for Action.