|Peter Markey enjoying Paul Spooner's birthday gift to him|
It was a wonderful day: brilliant sunshine; "de-lish" food (courtesy Margery, and our good friends Yvonne Gee and Lynne Hudson); sparkling company, with that inimitable 'buzz' emanating from many like-minded people engaging with each other; and not forgetting our (possibly unique?) "skyscraper" gazebo, erected by the good offices of George Roberts (who made the fittings) and Andy Hudson, who helped us get the thing up. Also thanks to Derry and Anne Marchant, who valiantly dealt with serving the food and drink.
2006 had originally been mooted as the launch-date for the Eric Meadus, because it's his 75th anniversary. Since part of our "policy" (inasmuch as we have anything so formal!) is to keep his flame alive, we are commemorating his birthday (18 May 1931) in a small way with some activities around two exhibitions of his paper-based work (most of them never before exhibited):
Onslow Road / Lyon St junction, looking South
1961 pencil & gouache.
The fragment of building on the right may well be the Bevois Castle inn, currently on the market. The railings on the left are still there, the boundary of the place of worship on the junction of Cranbury Avenue and Onslow Road.
Gas Monument & Haymarket pub, Hanover Bldgs / Queensway junction
All three buildings in the background have long gone, replaced by Safeways (and other outlets more recently). The Gas Monument, a not-so-covert bit of advertising to mark the beneficence of the Gas Company for providing the gas-stands throughout the City, was removed from the junction when the roundabout was installed / modified [not sure which!]. It was re-erected, restored, to a new location within Hoglands / Houndwell Parks.
While local historians, esp. those with photographic collections, would be invaluable to this process, anyone who may have walked past the same locations day in, day out, e.g. on their way to work, might be prompted to remember what they think they've forgotten by the sight of these drawings . The discussions occasioned by the meeting of like minds often prompts more detailed recall. (During a previous exhibition, a retired beat policeman was able to identify several locations, including some consisting just of rooflines, since the police are trained to keep an eye on upper storeys, as Eric Meadus - for more aesthetic reasons! - was also wont to do. So you don't need any particular historical knowledge to be of help).
Eric drew in many areas, as well as Swaythling for which he is renowned: the City Centre (esp. round the Pirelli factory; Central Station / Polygon; Bedford Place; Manchester Street; Portland Terrace; Chapel & The Deanery; Terminus Terrace; Queen's Park, down to the Floating Bridge terminal) almost any area which had bomb-sites; St. Mary's; Northam; Mount Pleasant; Bevois Valley; probably Derby Road area (before it became red-light); St. Denys; Shirley (we believe); West End; Netley; Weston; Eastleigh; Chandler's Ford. Anyone familiar with those areas may help in our research.
On Sunday, the shop is normally closed, but it is possible Peter may open specially for the half-hour before the Ride-&-Walk-about. Eric Meadus was born in Rigby Road, right round the corner.
We will be glad of offers of lifts as the whole circuit covers some distance and is discontinous. If you are able to help with this, please ring "The First" Gallery (023) 8046 2723. (Thank you, in anticipation).
Modesty almost prevents Margery mentioning her own show of works on paper in the foyer of Southampton City Art Gallery, but Paul has no such qualms: it opens on 10 June and runs until the end of July. And you can see a work of hers (Bowlers, given a Highly Commended award) in the City Gallery's The Art of Pattern Open Exhibition until 26th March.
Sometime in August, date tbc, we hope to hold a photographer's Open Portfolio event (similar to that in 2003 and previous years in the 90s) to mark the 70th anniversary of Crispin Eurich. It's possible that we'll co-incide this with the (long overdue) formal launch of a website, from where visitors could purchase digital / fibre-based photographic prints of some of his images. All that, though, belongs in another newsletter.
We hope to see you at one or another of the Eric Meadus events, but please don't forget we're open here by appointment at any suitable time. If there's something you saw here at our last Christmas Show, this time last year, or even 10 years ago (!), and are now thinking: "that would make an ideal present for ....... ", please give us a ring to discuss it: we'll do our best to source another one, dig one out of our stock, or lay out a selection of similar things for you to choose from when you visit. That's what we're here for!!
Margery & Paul Clarke