Design-led Architects based in Gravesend, Kent delivering highly workable contemporary and innovative design solutions to challenging briefs and tight budgets

Blink

Where has the year gone? Blink and its October.     
       
  4 bits of news to report.

  
  Medway Archives

This month Clays won a mini-competition to convert the former Strood Library into a new Medway Archives and Local History Centre. Clay’s design proposals involve stripping back and interventions which are more in keeping with the original 1972 Colcutt & Hamp Architects design; windows blocked in to protect historic documents from light damage will be filled with illuminated billboards of selected images from materials found in the archive.

  

  Chatham & Clarendon Grammar School, Ramsgate 
Clay’s supporting information and detailed conservation condition surveys of the historic Grade II Listed Chatham House and early 20th Century Clarendon House were instrumental in helping the Academy secure £2.3m in Education Funding Agency money in February. This follows emergency masonry work carried out by Clays and master stonemason David Adamson in early 2014, when Clay director Camilla Prizeman spotted a dangerously weathered stone finial during a visit to the school.



Gravesend Borough Market

Clay’s scheme for regenerating Gravesend Borough Market’s indoor market hall and old fish hall was awarded £1.8m from the Big Lottery Grant Coastal Communities Fund in January. The fund invests in coastal towns to help them achieve their economic potential; the scheme brings natural light into the dark halls, and include a mixture of fixed and temporary stalls to improve the quality and variety of traders, artisans, crafters, food and vendors stalls in the historic market (which was first granted a charter in 1268). The development will help create 35 new jobs in the area and revitalise the town centre. Work is due to start towards the end of this year.



Find of old drawings

Following the success of Making Places, Changing People, local historian Christoph Bull contacted us in September: a cache of old drawings and documents were found in the loft of a garage building off Parrock Street where the George Clay Partnership had its offices.

Clay directors Kasan and Camilla, archivists from the Kent History Centre and the Architectural Association School of Architecture visited the site to sieve through, select and retrieve historic drawings and documents. Amongst the finds are drawings from the late 19th century and early 20th century attributed to Adolphus Rayner, master builder; and Rayner, Kidwell and Bridgland architects & surveyors; Bridgeland & Clay architects & surveyors; George E Clay Architect and the George Clay Partnership.

Finds included George Inis Clay’s student portfolio from the Architectural Association (1928 to 1932), drawings of pubs, shops and houses, as well as blueprints for a gun cotton press and documents relating to jobs for Curtis & Harvey Limited adding fuel to the theory that Clays had at least some involvement in the explosive factory at Cliffe ( circa 1910s to 1920).


  

  Images:

Artist’s impression of the proposed Medway Archive

Chatham House, Chatham & Clarendon Grammar School

Early sketch from Clay’s aspirations masterplan for Gravesend Borough Market

Sample drawing retrieved from the find. Date June 1912, by Bridgland and Clay



 

 

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History project exhibition 20th October - 1st November

The Blake Gallery: Memories of Gravesham architecture shared at exhibition



Memories of Gravesham buildings, seen through the eyes of local people, will be shared at an exhibition at The Blake Gallery in Gravesend Civic Centre from Monday the 20th of October to Sunday the 2nd of November.

The display, at The Blake Gallery in Gravesend, is the culmination of two-year heritage arts project Making Places, Changing People by award-winning Gravesend practice Clay Architecture Ltd in partnership with Design South East.

The project, which received £45,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, invited members of the public to share stories, photographs, documents or drawings demonstrating the visual and social changes that have taken place in the area in the last 100 years in relation to architecture.

Eight audiovisual animations will be shown at the exhibition, bringing together pictures and information collected throughout the project as well as recordings of interviews with experts and residents. Display boards, produced by Clay Architecture, will accompany the films.

In The First House Built, Northfleet residents Jean and Oliver Madgewick recall moving into a newly built home in Coldharbour Road in the 1960s when the estate was surrounded by potato and cabbage fields.

The Church That Moved features a series of photographs and the voice of local author Peter Shearan describing how Christ Church was dismantled and moved from Parrock Street to its current spot in Old Road East over three years by the George Clay Partnership, a forerunner of Clay Architecture.

Kasan Goh took over Clay Architecture with his wife and fellow director Camilla Prizeman in 2000. He said: “The aim of the project was to explore 100 years of Gravesend history 'through the eyes' of the Clay practice, using archive photographs, documents, drawings, projects and oral accounts stretching back as far as records, archive material and memory could reach.

“Since launching the project, volunteers from Christ Church and civic group Urban Gravesham have been trained in oral history and archival research. They have worked really hard gathering information for the project, digitising the drawings and photographs and cataloguing the collection.”

The material gathered during the project has been donated to Gravesend Library and copies have been loaded onto a new website.

The project was first exhibited briefly for 3 days at Christ Church from March 29th to 31st 2014.

The Website also contains an electronic version of the exhibition, including the videos, an electronic archive of photographs, drawings and oral history interviews

Making Places, Changing People: The Exhibition will be at The Blake Gallery, Civic Centre, Gravesend, from Monday 20th October to Sunday 2nd November. Open daily, Monday to Saturdays 10am – 8pm, Sundays 10am – 2pm.

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History Project Exhibition Opening

Cabbage fields to Christ Church: Memories of Gravesham architecture shared at exhibition


Photo: Tollage Garage; Clay Architecture 

Memories of Gravesham buildings, seen through the eyes of local people, will be shared at an exhibition this month.

The display, at Christ Church in Gravesend, is the culmination of two-year heritage arts project Making Places, Changing People by Design South East (formerly Kent Architecture Centre) and award-winning Gravesend practice Clay Architecture Ltd. 

The project, which received £45,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, invited members of the public to share stories, photographs, documents or drawings demonstrating the visual and social changes that have taken place in the area in the last 100 years in relation to architecture. 

Eight audiovisual animations will be shown at the exhibition, bringing together pictures and information collected throughout the project as well as recordings of interviews with experts and residents. Display boards, produced by Clay Architecture, will accompany the films. 

In The First House Built, Northfleet residents Jean and Oliver Madgewick recall moving into a newly built home in Coldharbour Road in the 1960s when the estate was surrounded by potato and cabbage fields.  

The Church That Moved features a series of photographs and the voice of local author Peter Shearan describing how Christ Church was dismantled and moved from Parrock Street to its current spot in Old Road East over three years by the George Clay Partnership, a forerunner of Clay Architecture. 

Kasan Goh took over Clay Architecture with his wife and fellow director Camilla Prizeman in 2000. He said: “The aim of the project was to explore 100 years of Gravesend history 'through the eyes' of the Clay practice, using archive photographs, documents, drawings, projects and oral accounts stretching back as far as records, archive material and memory could reach.

“Since launching the project, volunteers from Christ Church and civic group Urban Gravesham have been trained in oral history and archival research. They have worked really hard gathering information for the project, digitising the drawings and photographs and cataloguing the collection.”

The material gathered during the project has been donated to Gravesend Library and copies are being loaded onto a new Making Places, Changing People website.

 A second exhibition will be held at The Blake Gallery, Gravesend, from October 20 to November 2.

Making Places, Changing People: The Exhibition will be at Christ Church, Old Road East, Gravesend, from 10.30am to 3.30pm, Friday to Monday, March 28th to 31st.

See www.claymakingplaces.co.uk for more on Making Places, Changing People and for a web version of the exhibition in April.  

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Multiple deliveries of breath

High Halstow Village Hall

    

High Halstow Village Hall: Before

When Clays first encountered High Halstow Village Hall, we were met with an exhausted 1960’s building which had fallen victim to years of vandal abuse and lack of maintenance funds. In spite of this, to the credit of the Village Hall committee, they had kept the hall running for the local community. The halls presence avoids the need for village residents to travel to neighbouring towns for much needed meeting spaces for youth and other community groups. 

Having planned a grand new build scheme to revive the hall, the committee were understandably demoralised to realise that, not only were funds insufficient to realise their scheme, but that it is very difficult to attract funding to the area at all. Despite the dilapidated state of the hall, its location is not deemed deprived enough to warrant significant investment. 

The hall needed; not just a new design, but direction to make the works a reality. 

At the time, we had just finished Parkwood Community Centre. The committee members here had a similar problem with a vision which could not attract sufficient funding. We worked intimately with them to flesh out an understanding of what they really needed, then proceeded to pursue this as economically as possible.  

Parkwood Community Centre

At High Halstow Village Hall, the Committee were relatively inexperienced at commissioning architectural work. We therefore worked closely with them to create a new brief and then conducted a feasibility study which appraised the adapted scheme against possible pots of funding. In order to deliver the scheme, we proposed to parcel it into 3 phases. 

The first phase would include essential works. The roof was at the end of its life, and the back wall had been kicked to bits and boarded with plywood. Phase 1 included a new roof and vertical extension of the first floor storage as well as a new Trespa clad rear wall. During the works, the main hall also received a make over. 


Phase 1 Works: new roof works, vertical extension and rear wall



Phase 1 Works: Main hall

The second phase of the works were finished in Autumn 2013 and included a new wall at the entrance, and re-configured the internal spaces to fit new WCs and a new Doctor’s Clinic.


    

    High Halstow Village Hall: Before Phase 2

   

High Halstow Village Hall: After Phase 2 - WC and Clinic Waiting Room/Green Room

High Halstow Village Hall: After Phase 2 - Front Elevation


The third phase will contain a new kitchen and stairs to the mezzanine storage area. 


Clays is currently working on a History Project documenting over 100 years of the George Clay Partnership (now Clay Architecture ltd.) on the built environment of North Kent towns www.claymakingplaces.org.uk. In our research, we were delighted to realise that the original village hall was built by the George Clay Partnership, as we stumbled across this archive photo of the hall in its glory days when completed in 1962. 

We are excited by the challenge to breathe new life into this old gem, even in intermittent phases; perhaps resuscitation is best done through multiple deliveries of breath. 


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Launch Lunch

02.02.13 Launch Lunch

Clay History Project Group Members
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On Saturday 2nd February 2013, volunteers for the ‘Making Places, Chaning People’ project met for a special launch lunch at the Three Daws pub. It was an opportunity for volunteers to meet each other and share their excitement and aspirations for the project. Among the attendees were a retired partner, an associate and an architect from the George Clay Partnership, as well as directors and employees of the current Clay Architecture. Members of Urban Gravesham Historic Society also attended as well as residents of Gravesend with interests in the history of the town.

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The lunch provided the first official opportunity for Project Manager, Irene Siejo to formally introduce the project. Both she and Kasan Goh gave speeches on the importance of collective memory and outlined the project programme and scope. It is hoped that the project will be part of the Love Architecture Festival this summer, organised by RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects).

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26.02.13 Oral History Interview Workshop

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Volunteers met for a day long workshop to learn interview methods which will be used to draw out the collective memories of local people as well as retired directors and associates of the George Clay Partnership.

The day left volunteers excited about the project and enthusiastic about practicing their new skills.

Below are comments from some of them:

It was a very informative and enjoyable day; the volunteers got to know one another and learnt a great deal about the gathering & recording of oral history, which is such an important part of studying the past. I'm sure the project is going to prove a success in exploring different aspects of buildings in Gravesham and their effect on the lives of people who lived and still live locally; I'm looking forward to helping with this fascinating project. Gill Emerson
I found the training day on oral history very interesting and informative, I gained a lot of information which will be useful for the project. As for the project, I think it is an excellent idea and something I am looking forward to being a part of. Mary Whitsitt
The Oral Training Day was a fascinating and informative introduction to the task of interviewing people and encouraging them to share their memories. We learned many of the dos and don'ts of recording oral accounts and it was fun to put into practice what we had learned during the day by interviewing each other. Not as easy as it seems!
Having lived in Gravesend all my life I am delighted to have the opportunity to be involved in this exciting project which when complete will be a very important record of our town's great history and heritage. It's great to know that public access to the planned exhibition, workshops and website will bring our findings to life for a wide audience. Beverley Draper
I really enjoyed the Oral History training day. I found it most informative, and very professionally run. I was totally enthused by the presentation, and although I have realised that interviewing for the project will require considerable skill and commitment I can't wait to get started.
I have been speaking to Gravesend octogenarians with many memories of the 30s and the war years and all are keen to be involved, so I don't imagine there will be any lack of volunteers! Pauline Cunningham
I enjoyed the training day, and it made me happier to continue being involved in the project. Although I am a relative newcomer to the town - I've only been living here for 45 years! - I have accrued a great deal of historical knowledge about the place, much of it which came from writing the history of our church, although I also undertook research when I was being trained as a teacher in the 1970s (my subject was geography). I have several acquaintances who are Gravesend born and bred, and know that I can persuade them to open up as to their memories of Gravesend over the past 80 years in at least one case. Peter Shearan
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Clay History Project

…and we’re off!

This week saw the inaugural meeting of a local history project entitled: ‘Changing Places, Changing Lives’.

-100 years of social and urban design history viewed through the eyes of an architectural practice in Gravesham and Medway.

After over a year of idea development and petitioning for support, we are thrilled to announce that Heritage Lottery Funding has been granted to research, curate and present the local history project!

Clay Architecture is collaborating with Irene Seijo (Project Manager) to drive this vision. The funding will enable researchers to compose an understanding of the history and growth of the towns; using a starting point of archival resources and the collective memory of retired and practising members of the former George Clay Partnership (now renamed Clay Architecture). The architectural practice has been based in Gravesham and Medway for more than 100 years and has built numerous buildings which are integral to the town’s historical fabric; including schools, churches, pubs, industrial factories and cultural buildings.

The first meeting with Duncan Hiscock (former Partner) and Ted Clifford (former Associate) was full of stories, intimately recanting the spirit of the town and the practice. Through the informal but intriguing discussions, we explained the initial direction of the project. Firstly; a steering group, of volunteers, needs to be formed. From initial research they will select three projects, which best illustrates the history of the towns, to explore in depth. Secondly, a team of volunteers will be sought to help carry out the research. They will be trained in archival research and cataloguing as well as how to conduct oral history interviews.

At the end of the explorations, we aim:

  • to curate an exhibition with the potential to tour to different locations, comprised of images, videos and audio recordings of oral history interviews on the projects and the town
  • to produce a website which could have local history/architectural information continually inserted
  • to conduct workshops with local school children
  • to have a legacy of local residents, trained in archival and oral history recording, who can use the experience and knowledge gained in this project perhaps in other similar initiatives to come

It’s going to be an exciting few months ahead. Watch this space for further updates on the progress of Changing Places, Changing Lives.

Comment

...and we're off

This week saw the inaugural meeting of a local history project entitled: ‘Making Places, Changing People’.

-100 years of social and urban design history viewed through the eyes of an architectural practice in Gravesham and Medway.

After over a year of idea development and petitioning for support, we are thrilled to announce that Heritage Lottery Funding has been granted to research, curate and present the local history project!

Clay Architecture is collaborating with Irene Seijo (Project Manager) to drive this vision. The funding will enable researchers to compose an understanding of the history and growth of the towns; using a starting point of archival resources and the collective memory of retired and practising members of the former George Clay Partnership (now renamed Clay Architecture). The architectural practice has been based in Gravesham and Medway for more than 100 years and has built numerous buildings which are integral to the town’s historical fabric; including schools, churches, pubs, industrial factories and cultural buildings.

The first meeting with Duncan Hiscock (former Partner) and Ted Clifford (former Associate) was full of stories, intimately recanting the spirit of the town and the practice. Through the informal but intriguing discussions, we explained the initial direction of the project. Firstly; a steering group, of volunteers, needs to be formed. From initial research they will select three projects, which best illustrates the history of the towns, to explore in depth. Secondly, a team of volunteers will be sought to help carry out the research. They will be trained in archival research and cataloguing as well as how to conduct oral history interviews.

At the end of the explorations, we aim:

  • - to curate an exhibition with the potential to tour to different locations, comprised of images, videos and audio recordings of oral history interviews on the projects and the town
  • - to produce a website which could have local history/architectural information continually inserted
  • - to conduct workshops with local school children
  • - to have a legacy of local residents, trained in archival and oral history recording, who can use the experience and knowledge gained in this project perhaps in other similar initiatives to come

It’s going to be an exciting few months ahead. Watch this space for further updates on the progress of Changing Places, Changing Lives.

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