Topic categories:

Coventry People

Francis Skidmore "The Coventry Craftsman"

You need to be signed in to respond to this topic

No actionNo action

Displaying 1 to 7 of 7 posts

Page 1 of 1

No actionNo action
7 posts:
Order:    

shamac
gateshead uk
All posts by this member
1 of 7  Mon 16th Aug 2010 10:30am  
Member: Joined Aug 2010  Total posts:1

After doing family tree research have found that this man is my grt grandad x 3. I would like to contact any other family members who might be in the Coventry area and discover more about this man and his work. Have visited the V&A and seen his work on display-is there any in Coventry which would be worth seeing? many thanks Sharon
Coventry People - Francis Skidmore "The Coventry Craftsman"
heritage
Bedworth
All posts by this member
2 of 7  Thu 13th Oct 2011 8:08pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2011  Total posts:374

Francis Skidmore was one of the best craftsman Coventry has ever seen. This is a potted history of a man who should be recognised in Coventry. Francis Skidmore was born in 1817 in Birmingham, the son of a jeweller. The family moved to Coventry shortly after he was born and Skidmore was eventually apprenticed to his father, learning the skills of metalworking and jewel setting. In 1845 Skidmore registered as a silversmith and by about 1850 he was based in West Orchard,near to Cross Cheaping in the centre of Coventry. There is at least one challis still in use in a north Warwickshire church. In addition to his silversmith work he was also producing large-scale work in iron and brass. One of his first local commissions was to light St Michael's Church, Coventry in 1851, later adding an eagle lectern and a colourful metalwork pulpit. Skidmore's brass light-stands, altar rail, ironwork and carved wooden pews can still be seen in Holy Trinity Church. His iron, brass and silverwork were to win him acclaim and prestigious commissions like the Albert Memorial, the Hereford Cathedral Screen and the Oxford University Museum roof. In 1851 the Great Exhibition was held at the Crystal Palace in London. This was intended to show the world the strength, skill and inventiveness of Britain's industries and gave rise to many more exhibitions over the following decades. At the Great Exhibition, Skidmore exhibited silver plate based on medieval designs. His work was well received and the prestige of the exhibition must have helped launch his career. At the International Exhibition of 1862, Skidmore won a medal for "progress, elegance of design and excellent workmanship" for his exhibits, which included the Hereford Screen. In 1867, Coventry had its own International Exhibition featuring a whole section devoted to Skidmore's firm. In 1859 Skidmore moved to larger premises in Alma Street, Hillfields, setting up "Skidmore's Art Manufacturers" in 1861. Skidmore also worked on the Midland Grand Hotel adjoining the new St, Pancras Station. By 1865, the Alma Street premises boasted an extensive showroom, two drawing offices, pattern shops, a 14-horse power engine, a boiler room, a large workshop equipped with lathes and a steam hammer, as well as separate rooms for enamelling, stamping and electrotyping. The mid-19th Century saw a rise of interest in medieval architecture and became known as the Gothic Revival. Skidmore's work in the medieval style and his interest in the lighting and heating of churches meant that he received many commissions from the movement's leading architects and designers. Skidmore's most productive working partnership was with the architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. The two had met in the early 1850s when Scott was restoring several Coventry churches. Scott and Skidmore shared interests in medieval design, ironwork and the use of colour in architecture. Skidmore provided monuments and accessories for many of Scott's buildings, their most famous collaborations being the Albert Memorial, Skidmore being responsible for the canopy, and the metalwork choir screens for Hereford, Lichfield and Salisbury Cathedrals. Francis Skidmore worked to Scott's designs, but it is believed by many that Skidmore often changed Scott's work to reflect his own flair for design. Despite his success, Skidmore's perfectionism lost him money. Employees described how he destroyed work or materials which didn't meet his exacting standards. In 1872 he had to sell the Art Manufacturers company, Frances Skidmore leased what is now the Manor Hotel in Meriden for his factory and home and setting up a much smaller business. His work was still in demand and continued until 1883 when he merged with Winfield's of Birmingham. Disabled by a carriage accident, and having neglected the commercial side of his business, Skidmore was relatively poor by the time he returned to Coventry in 1893. Even though Skidmore was a master craftsman, he was a poor businessman, the factory closing in 1883 due to financial difficulties. To help make his last years more comfortable, local dignitaries raised a special pension for him. Skidmore died penniless at his house in Eagle Street in 1896 and is buried at London Road Cemetery. The Albert Memorial in London has recently been restored and is a fitting memorial to the master craftsman that was Francis Skidmore.
Coventry People - Francis Skidmore "The Coventry Craftsman"
dutchman
Spon End
All posts by this member
3 of 7  Thu 13th Oct 2011 8:17pm  
Member: Joined Mar 2010  Total posts:3011

Fascinating, thanks Thumbs up
Coventry People - Francis Skidmore "The Coventry Craftsman"
heritage
Bedworth
All posts by this member
4 of 7  Thu 13th Oct 2011 9:31pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2011  Total posts:374

Somewhere on my PC I have a newspaper report about the canopy of the Albert Memorial gradually rising above the fence of Skidmore's premises in Foleshill. If I can find it I will post it.
Coventry People - Francis Skidmore "The Coventry Craftsman"
Francis Skidmores museum roof
oxford
All posts by this member
5 of 7  Mon 2nd May 2016 10:40am  
Member: Joined May 2016  Total posts:2

Hello I am assisting in the development of a small exhibition at the Oxford University Natural History Museum about said museum's roof. Francis Skidmore was very much responsible for the magnificent iron roof and in order to do justice to Coventry's celebrated craftsman I'd like to ask you for help with any information & photographs on any of the following points i) How much of the original Skidmore factory is remaining on Alma Street, if any? ii) Are there any photos of the Skidmore workshop/factory functioning or/and photos of surviving building/machinery from Skidmore's factory? iii) Do any of you know about how the iron girders would have been transported from Coventry to Oxford, any primary sources on this? iii) Any other details/thoughts on Skidmore and the Oxford Natural History Museum roof you think would be good to include? We will ensure to credit anything from members and Historic Coventry Forum we include. The exhibition will be in place by the end of this month so if any your members have the opportunity, do come and visit the exhibition and museum. Thanks for this Smile Mark
Coventry People - Francis Skidmore "The Coventry Craftsman"
charabanc
Coventry
All posts by this member
6 of 7  Mon 2nd May 2016 6:01pm  
Member: Joined Apr 2012  Total posts:165

Hello Shamac If you should chance to visit Coventry, you may be interested in how to find Francis Skidmore's grave. If you enter the municipal cemetery on London Road from the entrance at the end nearest to the city centre (you can park just outside the gates by going there via Quarryfield Lane), the first building that you will see to your right is the Anglican Chapel situated on a rise. Francis Skidmore's grave is immediately to the right of the chapel door. His most obvious and accessible pieces are either side of the nave in Holy Trinity Church, in the city centre, where his lamp standards are set into the pews. An historian and member of the Friends of London Road Cemetery, Kath Edwards, died recently and in her will she requested that at her funeral (which she had been able to plan some time previously) flowers were to be laid on Skidmore's grave as she was a tremendous enthusiast about his work. This request was complied with by one of her closest friends. If you Google 'Holy Trinity Church Coventry Skidmore' you can see one of the fine lamp standards mentioned above.
Coventry People - Francis Skidmore "The Coventry Craftsman"
Francis Skidmores museum roof
oxford
All posts by this member
7 of 7  Tue 3rd May 2016 8:38am  
Member: Joined May 2016  Total posts:2

Thanks for all the great information so far on Francis Skidmore. We'd really like to promote Francis Skidmore the craftsman and Coventry's amazing industrial heritage through our exhibition in Oxford so please do send anything about Francis Skidmore especially connected with the Oxford Natural History Museum roof. Here are some photos of the museum roof - pretty impressive, and all made in Coventry! Smile
Coventry People - Francis Skidmore "The Coventry Craftsman"

You need to be signed in to respond to this topic

No actionNo action

Displaying 1 to 7 of 7 posts

Page 1 of 1

No actionNo action

Previous (older) topic

H W Chattaway, architect
|

Next (newer) topic

Our Philip
You are viewing topics in the Coventry People category
 
Home | Forum index | Forum stats | Forum help | Log out | About me | My music
Top of the page
HTML5
1,514,716
Counter by Rob Orland

This page last updated 5th April 2018  (Load time: 101ms)