I had requested a meeting as a matter of courtesy, having visited the Cathedral several times previously during my research work for the Winchester Station Approach Project. It was important I met with Annabelle as I wished to discuss the possibility of collaborating with the Cathedral and particularly with the Stonemasons. Not only that, but I wished to know more about the Cathedral’s role in the community – an enormously broad subject, but nonetheless, one that I considered vital to understand the nature of its calling. It was of real interest to me to hear Annabelle talk about the Cathedral as a living place serving not only its faithful and local congregation, but everyone and anyone. A living and breathing building, actively engaging with and remaining vital to a worldwide audience in the 21st Century.
One outstanding calling is about welcome. In the Cathedra’s Calling and Vision document , emphasis is placed on welcome, access to all, hospitality and pilgrimage. The Cathedral Close is a haven for visitors and locals alike. The Station is also a Gateway to Winchester, so the same ethos ought to be present here in the public realm too, with an emphasis on welcome, and civic hospitality. A place of arrival and departure, a place of safety, a gateway and a welcome.
Marketing Manager Catherine Hodgson, then took me on a walk around the Cathedral and its outbuildings, including a visit to the stonemasons yard. Should the project progress to design stage, then I will certainly be advocating for a cross discipline collaboration with the Cathedral.
‘Sarsen Stones in Winchester’, from the website of The City of Winchester – these sandstone blocks, sought after as ‘markers’, are an inspiration for block seating at Station Approach…see below…
A number of industries, which Winchester supported, including Watermills, Brewing and Iron Foundries depended upon an immediate and plentiful supply of water. Winchester’s waterways brought wealth to the Cathedral.
Amongst these industries, several stand out as examplers –
City Engineering Works and Iron Foundry – Jewell Family of Middle and Lower Brook Street. Amongst other things the made components for the GWR Railways Winchester to Newbury Line. The family were also involved with Durngate Mill and the initials of Philip Charles Jewell appear on much cast iron work in the City.
You can hear more on the project via this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orYUpbnacis
The site has a number of key buildings which were once a part of of Anglia Ruskin University. 507 new homes as well as retail and offices will make up the new development. The project is delivering a new community in Chelmsford.
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. Anne Knight was a Quaker and a stalwart Anti Abolitionist, attending the World Anti Slavery Convention meeting held in London in 1840. Her views and 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 have also responded to the landscape plans and architectural flow & rhythm of the site as well exploring how the various elements & spaces of the site are navigated and used by pedestrians. As the hub of a new community, the communal areas of the development are important places for people to take ownership of.
As well as collaborating with the project team I am also working and collaborating with several manufacturers and specialist contractors such as Hardscape, Ashfield Ltd & City Squared on elements of paving, seating and steps throughout the site, where interventions will be made via cnc routed text into timber and water jet cut and sandblasted granite.