Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Little St Cross & St Cross Weaving House - found and demolished

Sometimes the answer to a question is right under your nose.  Thank you to Sarah at the Weaving House for pointing me in the right direction.

Haslemere Educational Museum has an online archive of local photographs that you can access via a computer in their main gallery.  This has states that "Godfrey Blount's New Crusade Chapel in Weydown Road - now demolished.  The Weaving Cottage is behind".  It looks like at the time of the photograph the building was being used as a house, with a house name being displayed on the left hand side of the door and maybe a letterbox on the right side of the door.  Although taken at a very similar angle to the older Little St Cross photograph, the slight difference in angle enables us to see what is referred to as 'The Weaving Cottage' right behind the building.

Little St Cross / Godfrey Blount's New Crusade Chapel,
Weydown Road, Haslemere
Reproduced courtesy of Haslemere Educational Museum

Little St Cross, Weydown Road, Haslemere
Reproduced courtesy of The Dartford Warbler

I think it is fair to conclude that these buildings were demolished when the newer houses were built in the front gardens of Wildwood and St Cross on Weydown Road, the houses occupied by Greville MacDonald and Godfrey and Ethel Blount in the early 1900s.

Plan of Weydown Road, Haslemere
with St Cross & Wildwood

St Cross Cottage, Weydown Road, Haslemere
reproduced courtesy of Haslemere Educational Museum

The Haslemere Educational Museum's archive notes that the above is  "St Cross Cottage, the Weaving Cottage in Weydown Road - now demolished ".  This building, which I was not previously aware of, explains how the weaving industry was run from St Cross when the Blounts were living there.  The industry was being run from a cottage in the grounds, whilst the Blounts lived in St Cross, the main house.  I wonder if this building is the 'studio' that Therese La Chard lived in briefly and where she made some observations of the Haslemere Peasant Arts movement.  I had thought that she had stayed in Little St Cross, but St Cross Cottage appears more likely to be used as a home than Little St Cross.

I am not sure whether the photograph below of St Cross spinners and weavers is taken from the front right hand side of St Cross Cottage, or not.

Group of spinners and weavers at St Cross, Haslemere, 
The Studio, XLIII, 1908
(from Haslam, Arts and Crafts Carpets, David Black, London, 1991)

All in all, whilst it is not a surprise to see that these buildings have been described as demolished, it is sad to read that they are definitely no longer standing.  Another piece of Haslemere's history lost to garden grabbing.

Monday, 15 July 2013

A Strange Visit by Arthur Romney Green

I have been away from the blog for a while, and now Summer has truly arrived.

I came across this lovely hand drawn poem by Arthur Romney Green when I was at the National Art Library earlier this year.  I hope it does not break any copyright by showing some of it here.  There are very faint parallels with my rescue of a blackbird from our raspberry netting in Foundry Meadow a few days ago(!).

A Strange Visit, Arthur Romney Green, Pear Tree Press, 1930
A Strange Visit, Arthur Romney Green, Pear Tree Press, 1930

A Strange Visit, Arthur Romney Green, Pear Tree Press, 1930

Once in the year - I wonder why
But once? - with his sweet bitter cry.
This runner upon earth mounts high
In zigzags black against the sky

Round seaward-looking chimney-tops
Whence, even as we gaze, he drops
Unseen to neighbouring field or copse -,
This runner through the standing crops.

And one year - why but one alone? -
One early morning - why but one? -
A scuffling in the hollow stone,
The wonder-walking of a drone,

As down our bedroom chimney thus
The feathery scuffle and the fuss,
Birth from the stone so beauteous
Of this strange visit! - why to us?

Neither a wounded thing to shame
The soul, and neither sick nor tame,
But freely, this untutored flame
Of wild life, whence or how it came

Into my hand I know not, J,
My only care to let it fly
Ere in my hand it bruise or die
This live thing with the lustrous eye

As of a frighten'd deer! - our guest,
God knows on what fantastic quest,
In silks and satins of the best,
Brown mantle, buff and tawny vest,

His wings so delicately sown
With black upon their velvet brown,
And, blindly quivering to be flown,
His pulses beating to my own,

As, dainty feet and silver thighs
All gather'd with smooth wings, he lies
Breast upward and bewilder'd eyes
A moment in my hand - and flies.

So seldom seen, so often heard,
Your name a long familiar word,
This meeting, why so long deferr'd,
Or why at all, mysterious bird?

Ah, how I longed, but did not dare
Gaze till I laid the secret bare! -
What secret of the earth and air
With their liege delegate to share?

A Strange Visit, Arthur Romney Green, Pear Tree Press, 1930

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