Sunday, 16th November 2003
Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary
Previous Page | This Month | Home
Page | Next Page
boathouse at Newmillerdam country park, immediately
to the south east of Wakefield, was recently restored. It's open
weekends and most bank holidays. The floor-level bay windows in
the ground floor room give a sense that you're afloat. The upper
room, which is approached up a flight of eight stone steps, looks
out over the lake and also has a watery light.
It would be a good place for a small arts show and is available
for hire (see link to Wakefield MDC website below).
City of Gold
As we drive back through Wakefield there's an extraordinary golden
light on parts of the city. South of the river we're in shade and
beyond the city there are big black clouds but, in between, the
blocks of flats near the city centre are spotlighted in brilliant
golden light. The golden glow is in startling contrast to the dark,
shaded buildings that frame the view. I've never seen those 1960s
blocks of flats looking so good.
As we get nearer to Chantry Bridge the light catches the old brick
mill, the upper floors of which serve as studio space for local
artists. It's a building that I'd normally think 'what a shame that
wasn't built in stone' but in this warm light the brickwork looks
stunning: it glows. The building almost comes to life, like a gigantic
lizard, tessellated with terra-cotta scales, sunning itself.
The cathedral spire looks good in any weather but it's divinely
radiant in this light - like a scene from Pilgrim's Progress.
Even the terraced houses along Westgate have been gilded with a
sunburst reflecting from their windows.
A couple of friends from Wakefield have mentioned the afternoon's
light since. One went to see if she'd left a light on, another assumed
that work had resumed on some roadworks and that spotlights had
been turned on outside.
that redbrick Artsmill by the Calder there's a clump of weeping
willows. At the moment there's controversy over plans for a gallery
to house work by the Wakefield-born sculptor Barbara Hepworth
(1903-1975). The Wakefield Express quotes one
local historian as saying that the plans resemble a 'multi-story
haven't seen the plans - since a scary run-in with Wakefield's planning
machine I've avoided getting involved in anything to do
with planning - but I understand that the plans call for the removal
of the willows. If that's so, it's a shame: I feel that Hepworth's
sculptures look so comfortable and relaxed in her garden at St Ives,
in an organic setting.
only to look at her pieces in the square by the multi-story car
park in town to realise how sad and lost they look when stuck in
hard urban setting. It's not surprising that this was the square
that they chose to film a violent death (one of the characters jumps
off the multi-story car park) in the television detective series
I'm sure the new design will prove popular, especially if there's
a good café included, but, if I was designing it, I'd try
and work those willows into the design. They'd be the perfect backdrop
to the sculpture. I'm not at all fond of sculpture in wild places
but I think the garden setting, which you can see in the St Ives
link below, works well.
1/12/03: I've just seen this architect's visual of the
Waterfront Gallery, in Infusion, the
Wakefield MDC cultural services newsletter, and, as far as I can
make out, they're keeping the trees. I see why a multi-story car
park should have come to mind but, all credit to David Chipperfield
Architects, the design is far less intimidating than the
Royal Armouries, which bristles with broadswords and brutality in
a similar waterfront situation in Leeds.
Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden, St Ives.
Chipperfield Architects - appropriately, at the time of adding
this link, 'this site is currently under construction'. I like that.
Previous Page | This Month | This
day last year | Home Page
| Next Page