Central Chelmsford – Anne Knight

28th October 2014

HISTORIC EVIDENCE & CONTEXTUAL RESEARCH FOR BURGESS STREAM, CENTRAL CHELMSFORD

1855 - This is the only known photograph of Anne Knight. She would be 69 years old in this image, 7 years before her death at the age of 76. Image: Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

1855 – This is the only known photograph of Anne Knight. She would be 69 years old in this image, 7 years before her death at the age of 76. Image: Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

One of the most historic & resonant as well as the earliest buildings on the site is the Grade II listed Anne Knight building, a former Friends Meeting House from 1824. Named after one of Chelmsford’s most distinguished women, Anne Knight 1786 – 1862.

I have based my creative response and interventions broadly on the following:

 

1. The life and times of Anne Knight, which may represent her achievement & legacy. This can be portrayed as a narrative using quotations attributed to her and / or synonyms and metaphors, which may be suggestive of her character & personality.

2. The history of the area bounded by the current site development.

3. Movement through & use of the site as suggested by the current designs, which could explore connectivity, way finding & a triumvirate of new public spaces to expl

4. Nature, landscape and geography as suggested by the adjacency to Central Park and the vista from the upper levels of the flight of steps from The Place.

5. The building & ‘genesis’ of a new Community on the site.

6. Human traits, conditions and aspirations as described or suggested by metaphors and synonyms for landscape & community.

Anne Knight was a Quaker and a stalwart Anti Abolitionist, one of very few women to attend the World Anti Slavery Convention meeting held in London in 1840. The treatment of women at this pivotal event, when those attending were asked to sit behind a curtain and were not allowed to contribute to the debate, was to shape her views and future correspondence on women’s rights & led to her publishing what is considered to be the very first leaflet on women’s suffrage in 1847. I was inspired to use her journey as an anchor for the creative response partly for her stoical and focussed achievements during her lifetime and partly as her humanity and sense of purpose in fighting publicly for equality & the rights of others in community, was matched by her familial and personal correspondence and relationship with her seven siblings and parents.

1855 - This is the only known photograph of Anne Knight. She would be 69 years old in this image, 7 years before her death at the age of 76. Image: Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

1855 – This is the only known photograph of Anne Knight. She would be 69 years old in this image, 7 years before her death at the age of 76. Image: Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

“By tortured millions, By the divine redeemer, Enfranchise Humanity, Bid the Outraged World, BE FREE”. Anne Knight 1855

I have also responded to the immediate and contemporary physical landscape plans and architectural form to explore the flow & rhythm of the site, exploring how the various elements & spaces developed for the project may be navigated and used by residents & pedestrians. This triumvirate of public spaces, currently known as The Gate, The Place & The Crossing, create between them a varied and exciting experience for the user. As the hub of a new community, the communal areas of the development are important places for people to take ownership of. There are busy, bustling retail anchored spaces, quiet spaces for reflection or for sitting with friends and family under the shade of trees and fluid pedestrian routes and vistas for traversing & looking out beyond the site.

Image: Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

Image: Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, Londo

Detail: Commemorative group portrait of the World Anti Slavery Convention held in London in June 1840, by the artist Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1841. National Portrait Gallery

Detail: Commemorative group portrait of the World Anti Slavery Convention held in London in June 1840, by the artist Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1841. National Portrait Gallery

Knight Family Papers. Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

Knight Family Papers. Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

Above: A section from a handwritten letter to Anne Knight from her sister Sophie, describing the moment she saw a comet, ‘comit’.

Pages from the notebook of Job Knight left to Anne after his death in 1819. She turned the notebook upside down and used the back for her own notes. - often in shorthand. -Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

Pages from the notebook of Job Knight left to Anne after his death in 1819. She turned the notebook upside down and used the back for her own notes. – often in shorthand. -Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

Job Knight used this notebook to record various things, including lists of synonyms. He worked as a Cabinet Maker of St Martins, Ludgate, London & died in 1819 aged 31. Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

Job Knight used this notebook to record various things, including lists of synonyms. He worked as a Cabinet Maker of St Martins, Ludgate, London & died in 1819 aged 31. Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

Job Knight - Notebook - "the last 8 or 9 years of my life have been wormwood & gall..." Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

Job Knight – Notebook – “the last 8 or 9 years of my life have been wormwood & gall…” Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

Job Knight - Notebook - Detail: Job worked as a Cabinet Maker in London & died in 1821 aged 31

Job Knight – Notebook – Detail: Job worked as a Cabinet Maker in London & died in 1821 aged 31

Knight Family Papers.  Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

 Anne Knight turned this copy of a ‘Plea for Woman: ..” by Mrs Hugo Reid into a notebook via many annotations and additions of paper, colour notes and printed tracts.

Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

Knight Family Papers.  Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

Anne Knight turned this copy of a ‘Plea for Woman: ..” by Mrs Hugo Reid into a notebook via many annotations and additions of paper, colour notes and printed tracts.

Knight Family Papers.  Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

Anne Knight turned this copy of a ‘Plea for Woman: ..” by Mrs Hugo Reid into a notebook via many annotations and additions of paper, colour notes and printed tracts.

Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

Knight Family Papers.  Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

Anne Knight turned this copy of a ‘Plea for Woman: ..” by Mrs Hugo Reid into a notebook via many annotations and additions of paper, colour notes and printed tracts. Here she has pressed a flower – most likely a daisy.

 Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

Knight Family Papers.  Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

Anne Knight turned this copy of a ‘Plea for Woman: ..” by Mrs Hugo Reid into a notebook via many annotations and additions of paper, colour notes and printed tracts.

 Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

Knight Family Papers.  Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

 The image above shows the sale catalogue in regard to the Estate of the late Sophie Knight, Anne’s younger sister. Library of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain, Friends House, Euston Rd, London

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The life of a photograph and an extraordinary woman | Quaker Strongrooms - September 18, 2015

    […] The Library of the Society of Friends holds Anne Knight’s personal papers including diaries, correspondence and notes (references MS Box W2, MS Box G2/3, and MS Vol S 486). One of our readers was inspired by her journey for his architectural creation for the Burgess Stream project in central Chelmsford. You can read about the historical research behind his architectural design work here: http://christophertipping.co.uk/central-chelmsford-anne-knight/ […]

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