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BOOK

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REVIEW

The Arts and Crafts Movement in the North West of England: A Handbook By Barrie and Wendy Armstrong.Oblong Creative, £17.50

Visitors to the wonderful Arts and Crafts collection in Cheltenham Museum can buy a small touring guide to Arts and Crafts architecture in the Cotswolds. Now comes this lavish handbook to the Arts and Crafts Movement in the North West of England - an almost Pevsner-sized guide to its buildings and objects.

Arranged by county and beautifully illustrated, it comes with a thorough introductory essay and a 'Who's Who' of architects and designers (and only lacks maps and a more extensive bibliography to be still more scholarly). It not only includes buildings by such famous names as Voysey and Webb, but highlights the minor works of figures such as Harrison Townsend and, most importantly, the strong provincial practices who embodied the movement's principles without attracting the credit that was their due.

Figures such as George Faulkner Armitage or Percy Worthington from Manchester, or Thomas Shelmerdine, the Liverpool Corporation Surveyor.

To these designers the provinces weren't backwaters cut off from London but regions where tradition clung on and could even support a Northern Art Workers' Guild.

Despite such recent restorations as Baillie Scott's Blackwell, the North West still needs to highlight its Arts and Crafts legacy, when major works such as Wood and Sellars' First Church of Christ Scientist remain at risk. This delightful book should do much to help.

Julian Holder is an architectural historian based in Manchester

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