Friday, 19 September 2014

Should The Herbert Tyson Smith Sculpture Yard Come Back To The Bluecoat School Lane Liverpool?

I went to a event at the Bluecoat as part of the national Heritage Open Days that happens annually in September.
It was a conversation with Brian Biggs and James McLaughlin who had worked with the great man, starting as an apprentice.

Sun 14 Sep

2 - 3pm Herbert Tyson Smith
The Bluecoat’s Artistic Director, Bryan Biggs, in conversation with James McLaughlin, who was apprenticed to Tyson Smith, the eminent Liverpool sculptor who had a studio at the Bluecoat and was involved in establishing the building an arts centre. (The talk takes place in what was his original studio, entrance in College Lane)

James is deaf and dumb and his son Matt did a great job of putting his thoughts into words.

At one point he was explaining about how Herbert and Jeffrey, his brother would argue all the time and often come to blows. There is passion in that there sculpture.

I did not know he had a brother and hope I have got the interpretation correct, because it is as if he did not exist, Herbert taking all the plaudits for the work.
Possibly on purpose if they were that much at loggerheads.

It seems easier to ask the reader to look down Wikipedia than me listing Tyson Smiths sterling work.

I let the small group who attended have their questions and then I first needed to make a comment and then a question to all.

I had fought a battle trying to get a separate listing within the Bluecoat general heritage listing and was not successful.
Herbert Tyson Smiths Sculpture Studio was left in a wonderful state of preservation.
Lots of his original work was on display moulds and tools etc. Any other city would have seen its potential. I accused the directors of the Bluecoat of being foolish I letting it go.
“We did not have the resourses” Brian Biggs said
“You had 14 million quid” I said
“Yes but that was for capital resourses”
“So you knock it down and get a shop in selling cheap Indonesian and Chinese rubbish instead”
He went on with a load of excuses leaving me in no doubt the reason why we lost another piece of Liverpool heritage that could have helped to promote our city to the millions of tourists who come here.
The people voted with their feet and the bargain bin shop is now closed and the place is empty.........a perfect opportunity. I said, which seemed to go down well, with all but Brian.
The page isn't long enough to list the excuses he gave even quoting to me the difficulties in getting some historical context back.
He started talking about the Edward Chambre Hardman archive, and the difficulties in getting that up and running.

This was a mistake as I told him in no uncertain terms that when I got involved in that quest I heard all the same negative stuff from a bunch of washed up trustees that had been there far too long.
They wanted to send the archive to Bradford!!!!!!
In the end we, campaigners created such a fuss that the trustees had to bow to public opinion and the national Trust stepped in.
I am so proud of the role I played as the Chairman of "The Friends of Chambre Hardman."
This sort of commitment may be required again.

It got me annoyed, what an opportunity missed.
You at the Bluecoat spend far too much time trying to make money on weddings.
I had proclaimed, there is a lot who agree.

The Bluecoat, the grand old lady of Liverpool seen the blitz, being rebuilt, used to be a wonderful artistic creative hub with a cafe and now has become a cafe with a exhibition room. I have not seen a decent expo for years there, now. What has happened to the place.

So they destroy the intact studio and then probably farm a grant off the arts council, or some of the public body to hold a talk, about Herbert Tyson Smith, remembering him in the place that Mr Biggs and co destroyed.
You couldn't make it up.

I apologised to both James and Matt for my strong views on what was to be a pleasant Sunday afternoon in conversation and many of the people there, some of whom rescued works from the Bluecoat directors act of vandalism in 2008, when Liverpool was European Capital of Culture.
All including James and Matt said it would be a wonderful idea.
Well all, but poor old scorned, Brian Biggs who sat there with a face like a singed cat.

Some fresh blood needs to be brought in before they do anymore damage.

Bring back Herbert Tyson Smith to the Bluecoat.

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