Breaking the Mould. Stoke.

Arnold Bennett

C19th. Painted brick under slate roof. House and shop of John Baines and the Baines family in The Old Wives' Tale. Interesting juxtaposition of fireplace with stone mantel in basement and newer supporting pillar to first floor. Premises unused at present.


Return to slideshow

In bed with Arnold Bennett

Photoshoot diary by Mary Wardle


'She was the daughter of a respected, bedridden draper in an insignificant town, lost in the central labyrinth of England'
p. 49 The Old Wives' Tale Arnold Bennett.

Arnold Bennett analysis of Bursley (Burselm) in the mid 19th century.

Vote, vote, vote for Federation
Don't be stupid, old and slow,
We are sure that is will be
Good for the communitie,
So vote, vote, vote and make it go.

Down, down, down with Federation,
As we are we'd rather stay;
When the vote on Saturday's read
Federation will be dead,
Good old Bursely's sure to win the day.

p.605 The Old Wives' Tale. Arnold Bennett.

'Polycentric urban sub-region - or multicore city region with no single, recognised epicentre.' - this is federation one hundred years after Arnold Bennett included the above chants in his novel.

Binding together multiple cores - How can focusing on one core ignite the remaining cores?

Bind through a common identity. Is there a common identity?

If a single, critically massed core can be created how will it ignite or link in with the other cores?

If each centre has its own identity, can you bind all 6 with a common vision?

Maybe bind with a series of unique visions inspired from a unique source or from a shared point in time.

The driving binding could be an engine that drives a series of unique visions. The input into each 'heart 'is the same and comes from a central core. The outcomes are unique, dependent on the nature of the element that has been introduced to the driving engine. The identity in common comes from the activity of introducing something unique to a shared driver.

The pink cabins on stilts - a stack of them in a courtyard in Hanley could act as the shared driver. Move the cabins out into the 6 centres in response to a centre's invitation. It's up to each centre to decide how the cabin is to be used. (I know in Ancoats if I ever asked people to contribute I was always overwhelmed by what turned up. Remember Murrays Open Day? people queuing down the street to get in, bringing their stories with them.)

We have gone out into the towns with our own agendas to search out ourselves what we think we might find i.e. pottery industry and related themes. We haven't yet had an opportunity to give space to people choosing for themselves what they might want to contribute. (Review Saturday Guardian 07.02.09 The Great Crash - Design Museum - Susan Willaims-Ellis - history and future of British Cermaics)

Maybe this is what mobile architecture is all about - an invitation.

Can each cabin offer just an empty space? Might we not put something in each cabin to respond to? It would be the response that would be unique through which identity could be revealed.

The 6 cores have their own centres, parks, markets, churches, linked by transportation routes - roads, canals, rail, water.

Each town needs to know that this 'Identity/future quest' is happening in all towns.

Maybe each cabin is a portal into all 6 cores you can visit while remaining in the heart of your own. In this way you can feel a part of your own place while participating in any or all of the selected others.

In this case segregation will act creatively. Integration/binding can alienate.


Cultural MasterplanExhibitionBlank for nowCivic Works

© Copyright 2009