Saturday, December 2, 2017

Coventry Arts Umbrella Club - An Overview

Coventry Arts Umbrella Club - 1st base Little Park Street 1955
Welcome to the new Coventry Arts Umbrella Club archive site, as part of the Hobo (Coventry Music and Arts Magazine) Archive site, documenting the Coventry Music Scene in the 70's (and before and beyond). Coventry is noted for it's contribution to popular music via Two Tone, Pete Waterman, The Sorrows, Frank Ifield, Vince Hill, King, The Primitives, Indian Summer, Dando Shaft and more.

These musicians didn't develop in a vacuum and the were many more who didn't make it. Neither was the Cov Scene just about music. Literature, art and politics feature in it it as well.

This blog is part of a wider documentation of the Coventry music - which is still in re-development from the former Hobo Vox site - Links

An A to Z of Coventry Bands (on Google sites) Which is a comprehensive A to Z of Coventry Bands and Artists from the 50's to present. Still a work in progress and contributions of information welcome. Although not finished, it holds a great deal of information, You Tube and audio links.

The rest of the material is on this suite of Blogspots -

Hobo Coventry Music Archives ( The main blog) 
Hobo magazine archives, Coventry music features, other alternative Coventry mags and much more. (In development). Although this is a main part of the Hobo blogs, it's one that still requires a lot more input. Slowly getting it all put on!

Coventry Arts Umbrella Club  
That's this blog!!

Coventry Music Articles by Pete ClemonsHouses Peter Clemon's Rock of Ages columns and Coventry music articles for the Coventry Telegraph which charts gigs in Coventry (local bands and famous bands) from 1960 onwards. In addition I'm adding, Coventry Hits, Pete Waterman archives to this section and my 1971 diary of Coventry gigs as a resource.

This blog with house copies of Pete Willow's Folks Magazine from c 1978 and articles from it. My archive of material from the Coventry Folk Scene in the 1970s and other relevant articles, You Tube and links.

Coventry Discos, DJ's, Venues, Recording studios, Music Shops, Music Agencies in the 70's
As it says on the tin, articles on the other aspects of the Coventry music scene, including Silk Disco, Sunshine  Music agency, Q Artistes, Pete Chambers and his initiatives and much more.

Lanchester Arts Festival and Gigs in the 1970's 
Now Coventry University. Do you remember all those bands and artists who played the Lanch. This site tracks a lot of them with youtube footage and more.

A comprehensive Who's Who of Coventry Musicians - still a work in progress. More to be added when the A to Z of  Coventry bands and artists has been completed.Meanwhile if you should be on the list of the info is wrong or incomplete and if your friends are not on here and should be - let use know at

IT (International Times) had a section of Arts labs and Centres and in 1969, the Umbrella Club got a mention -

'Umbrella' Coventry's Literary Magazine  1959
Coventry Arts Umbrella (or the Umbrella Club) as we all knew it, played an important role in that development, so much so it deserves it's own focus - this blog.

Opened in Little Park Street, Coventry in 1955 by some of the Goons (who were performing at Coventry's Belgrade Theatre), it had associations with Phillip Larkin, Two Tone and housed Coventry's first folk club.

More of The Umbrella's seminal role in the Coventry music and arts scene will be revealed in these pages, which I shall start uploading very soon. Bookmark and revisit and watch it grow.

Note also, that although the Umbrella is not the force it once was in 50's, 60's and 70's, the club has survived in some form and small group of early members still meet at members houses and recently published a pamphlet of poetry, (Visit their site Here )
and we shall mention their activities on here as well celebrating the work of the Umbrella in its primary years. Actually this link is not working now - will check if that's permanent!

'Umbrella', the clubs respected literary journal from 1959 - 61 gets a mention in Phillip Larkin's biography (albeit a footnote). The journal might be 'obscure' as it says in the Larkin bio, but we bring it back to life on this blog with two pdf versions and Larkin's essay on his poem about Coventry - Not the Place's Fault.

Special mention must be made of Terry Watson, an English teacher at King Henry V111 school, poet, editor of Umbrella magazine and whose unstinting dedication to the Umbrella ensured it's continuation through the decades.

The Umbrella's story begins in 1955 with the opening of the premises in Little Park Street (next post), through the publication of Umbrella Literary magazine, through the move to premises at Queen Victoria road in 1961 - hosting Coventry's first folk club, through to the hippy era with the Transcendental Cauldron - a Underground arts fest in 1969 (which was my first experience of the Umbrella) through their explusion from Queen Victoria Road owing to a redevelopment programme and a new base in the Charterhouse. (Umbrella was on the corner where the white dot is - now British Chamber of Commerce.)

ABOUT UMBRELLA CLUB - Umbrella information sheets from the early 1970's on a pdf file here

Photos and Memories
The material on this site is from my own archives, collected when I was a member and running the Live Music nights etc. If anyone has any photos of the Umbrella they are willing to share with us - either at Little Park Street (from inside) or from Queen Victoria Road (inside or out) or any documents that would be of interest - please let us know at
Also share your share your memories with us in the comments.

Coventry History Centre 
For research - you can find further and more extensive material in Coventry Archives, Herbert Museum  including copies of Umbrella Magazine, Programmes, press cuttings and features and more.

Birth of the Umbrella Club - Opened by the Goons

Coventry Arts Umbrella Club played an important role in Coventry's music history, for bands, folk, literature and more. Larkin wrote for Umbrella magazine and two Two Tone members played in early bands there.

Coventry Arts Umbrella Club opened in Little Park Street, Coventry  (seen in the photo) in 1955 by The Goons and financed by West Midlands Arts. After demolition it re-opened in Queen Victoria Rd in the early 60's - again with it's premises being demolished and moved to the Charterhouse on London Rd. It's hey days were the 50's / 60's and early 70's but a small group of poets still keep something going, albeit they now meet at someone's house and activities have been scaled right down.

"The Umbrella Club was founded in 1955 largely on the initiative of members of the City Architect's Department in association with members of the Midland Theatre Company, the forerunner of the Belgrade Theatre. The Club opened on 10 Oct 1955 at 97 Little Park Street with the purpose of encouraging the enjoyment of the arts by providing facilities for members to take part in a wide range of activities and to sponsor and promote artistic and related events of various kinds. When 97 Little Park Street was demolished in 1961, it moved to 18 Queen Victoria Road and membership grew, reaching over 400 by 1964. The Club operated at Queen Victoria Road until these premises were also demolished in the early 1970s. For a time activities continued in The Charterhouse but the lack of suitable premises led to declining membership."

According to architect and early member Bill BerrettThe real movers were Terry Watson, Neil Stair (an English teacher who did the White Devil by Webster) Geoffrey Saunders (I can't recall what his work was, but he made a great contribution to the early building decor), Rex Chell and Stanley Sellers, Architects from the City Department. All these did most of the work and negotiation."

Birth of the Umbrella Club
The Coventry Arts Umbrella (known to its members as The Umbrella Club or The Brolly) opened October 10th 1955 at 97, Little Park Street (as seen in the picture above). This I think was in front of what became the Education Offices after the redevelopment of Little Park Street.

It was initiated largely by the Coventry City Architects department and members of the Midland Theatre Company.
The Aims of the Umbrella were to -
"To provide a congenial meeting place for those interested in artistic and cultural activities and in pursuance of this it promotes lectures, discussions, exhibitions, recitals and similar. The name 'Umbrella' is intended to suggest the wide range of activities covered by the club"

Outline of the functions and Structure of Coventry Arts Umbrella Ltd.
"The Association is established to promote, maintain, improve and advance education and assist in the promotion, maintenance, improvement therein. Shall be of charitable nature and in particular, so far as such objectives may be charitable, to raise the artistic taste of Coventry and to promote, encourage and increase the appreciation and understanding of the arts generally and Dramatic Art, Musical Art, Literary Arts and Visual Arts in particular."

The Umbrella Club was opened by The Goons - Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers. Coventry photographer, Richard Sadler explains in The Journal of London Independant - Winter 2002/3, (pdf file with more photos) why, in those formal times, the Umbrella club chose the Goons to not only to open the club in 1955 but join in their party later on c 1959

" The occasion (of the photos) was the the first time our heroes appeared on stage (Coventry Hippodrome I think)  to delight us with their wit and wisdom. It was a flop of course, though not for us, due in the main to having a public who
enjoyed them, till then, only through the radio. The theatre too was controlled at that time, not only by the management, but by the Lord Chamberlain. All theatre performances had to be approved by him and any deviation from the script, at each performance, had to be recorded and forwarded to his office. The anarchic wit and humour of our heroes, to whom the art of the ad lib was essential was fundamental, suffered from this bureaucratic machinery; they had in truth been sent to Coventry."

Sadler goes on to explain -
"We at the Umbrella would have none of that, they would come to our party and celebrate that which we would create together with them, a
future of peace, prosperity and fun...they put up an umbrella, embraced the girls and assumed a pose that would remind us of their personalities, wit and wisdom, that changed, though no one realised it at the time, English humour forever."

An article appears on the Goons in one of the editions of Umbrella.

Bill Berrett offered - "A small anecdote about the opening by the Goons. It was a very informal and crowded do. The Goons mixed in with everybody and had a great time. That is until a young woman asked for an autograph and the Goons swiftly departed! (they did take away 'Spon' from Coventry as in '' I been Sponned'!)"

The Advisory Committee in the early days consisted of The Right Rev - the Lord Bishop of Coventry. Alderman Mrs Pearl Hyde. Mr A.G. Ling FRIBA Coventry City Architect. Lord Leigh. Sir Stanley Harley (Coventry Gauge and Tool Ltd. Mr P.S. Randell (Courtalds)

The club initially had 200 members comprising of students, secretaries, engineers, technologists, Clerks,nurses, Civil Servants, architects, journalists, artists, shop assistants, housewives.

97, Little Park St. Comprised a Lounge (used for lectures and recitals) A Foyer - Exhibition room, music room, cloak room, office and kitchen. The building was demolished to allow for redevelopment.

The first Chair of the Umbrella was Anthony John - later of the BBC - later Dr A H Marshall and Terry Watson was Vice Chair at this stage later to be Chair.

Reply to Criticism
"We can offer a reply to the criticism which tends to be levelled at an expanding industrial town like Coventry - that it's heartless and that there is nothing to do and that it is a 'Cultural desert' . Our reply, based on observation and the deep satisfaction which many intelligent young people have found in using the club and how newcomers to Coventry have said how they have not felt at home in the city until they began to use Umbrella club."

On 3rd April 1961 the Coventry Arts Umbrella received a Compulsory Purchase Order with notice to quit their premises at 97, Little Park St. by the 30th June 1961 after 5 years of residence at that address. The Umbrella claimed, in response, that  the Umbrella had established a "unique position as a cultural and social centre, especially for young people who are over youth club age and for whom we provide a service of a kind not to be found elsewhere in the city. It's cultural magazine is subscribed to by the Library of Congress USA and New York Public Library etc."

The Umbrella was rehoused at 18, Queen Victoria Rd. until once again in 1972 they had to move after a 10 year residency this time.

In terms of programme the Umbrella while at Little Park St. organised a series of Cultural Weeks each year as follows -
American Week - 1957
Russian Week   - 1958
Norwegian Week -1959

In May 1958 they hosted a production of Webster's White Devil in St. Mary's Hall.

Some of the distinguished speakers included -
EM Forster, Sir Stuart Wilson, Prof. Marvin Felheim, Prof. Nevil Coghill, Aaron Copland, Richard Arnell, Brian Priestman, Sir Eugene Goossens.

The Umbrella magazine is covered in another post on here with some new additions.

The early programme on the move to Queen Victoria Rd. included (up to 1968) Jazz, music , Bridge, art and design and Drama. jazz was particularly strong at the umbrella.

And, from the Umbrella Website
A potted history of the club -
History of the Club
The seeds of the Umbrella Club were sown when a group of people enthusiastic about the arts were meeting socially in the Geisha Cafe in Hertford Street, Coventry.
Geisha Cafe Right opposite Greens Chemist
Hertford street

The Club opened on 10 October 1955 at 97, Little Park Street, with the purpose of encouraging the enjoyment of the arts by providing facilities for members to take part in a wide range of activities and to sponsor and promote artistic and related events of various kinds.
The official opening took place on 2nd November 1955 and was attended by none other than The Goons, Harry Secombe, Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan.

The club had a sub-committee for each section of the arts and these ran a full programme of events. Notable speakers included Kenneth Tynan, Maurice Edelman, Graham Whettam.

The Club also published a series of magazines, featuring new writing from new and established writers, eg. E. M. Forster, Susan Hill, Philip Larkin. A particularly memorable event was a production of 'The White Devil' in St. Mary's Hall, in the late 50s.

In 1961, Little Park Street was redeveloped and the Club obtained a three storey house in Queen Victoria Road. Here the Club went from strenght to strength. An outbuilding was converted and extended into a theatre/ cinema and the programme included Jazz on a Summer's Day, The Cranes are Flying, The Seventh Seal. The film group experimented with film making and we have a video copy of Under the Umbrella, a film about the club's activities made in 1965 as part of the 10th anniversary celebrations .

Some events were open to the public, including films, plays,, art exhibitions.

In 1970, the area was due for redevelopment and compulsory purchase left the Club with insufficient resourses for premises. Until 1974, members met at The Charterhouse, a historic building on the London Road which had been left to the city for public use. Meetings were held once a week with the film group sometimes meeting separately on an additional night. Unfortunately it proved difficult to maintain the Club under these conditions and though the club was never closed down, activity became minimal.

In the 1990s, there was a reunion and relaunch at the Koko building in Spon End. After an initial busy programme, activities were toned down to the present level. Times have changed and people have many more opportunities and demands on their time than was the case in the 50s and 60s, however there is still a desire for people interested in the arts to meet together in order to participate in and discuss the various media."

Recent Comment

This received from  Jean Jennings (neĆ© Gough) April 13, 2013 at 7:13 AM
If anyone can confirm (or otherwise) Jean's memory of the Umbrella being open before 1955 - please get in touch

"Thank you for bringing back some wonderful memories of the Umbrella Club. I was a very keen member in the 50's, assisting Terry Watson with the secretarial jobs and publicity. I remember him bringing to the club the first electric typewriter - a scary monster. He was truly an inspired person and brought such enthusiasm to the club.
One problem that I have is with the given date of the inception of the club. I distinctly remember going there in 1953 - and it had been active a while before then. Can anybody confirm this?"

Dirty Stops Outs - Coventry in the 1970's - Ruth Cherrington

A recently launched book titled ‘Dirty Stop Outs 1970's Coventry’ is currently available from outlets like Coventry HMV shop, Waterstones and Amazon. And a really enjoyable read it is too.

The book, authored by Dr Ruth Cherrington features many of the pictures and information from these Hobo - Coventry Music Sites, including the Coventry Arts Umbrella Club along with memories from some of the people who were there and frequented the pubs, clubs, and music and dance venues in the city.

Available for Amazon UK HERE

Ruth Cherrington with the new book at Coventry Music Museum 2017.

Read a review of the book by Pete Clemons HERE

Dirty Stop Outs - Coventry Music and Entertainments in the 70'son display at Coventry HMV

John Bo Bargent (a co-founder of Hobo magazine) at the Waterstones book launch with both a copy of the new book and a copy of Hobo magazine from 1974.

A page in the book featuring Trev and Bo with their magazine Hobo.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Sound bites from the Umbrella programmes 60's and 70's

These are just some random entries in various Umbrella programmes or news sheets joted down the other week while visiting Coventry History centre and looking their Umbrella archives.

Programme from 1950's.

Jazz, music, bridge, art and craft, drama.

Programme 1966

Folksinging - A group of folksingers led by Barry Skinner performing in the club on Monday evenings from January to July 1966.

Programme 1967

Jazz bands.

January 1967 - Folk Tuesday 26th January 8.30.At last live folk music in the club. Now's your chance to hear again those wonderful old songs you learnt on your Granny's knee - Arranged by Roy Mitchell.

Programme 1968

June 18th 1967 - Folk. Roy Mitchell Group.

Martin Nobel Group - Jazz

Exhibitions,Social - party, films, lectures, poetry readings, Arts Council tour, One act play, recital - 

The Voice of Pop - Terry Watson - explores the links between classical and popular music.

Programme 1970

Cliff Cowling Friday night music nights (jazz mainly) taken over by Al Docker, assisted by Trev Teasdel on the door. Cliff Cowling said he could not organise the Friday night band sessions anymore.

Bands - White Heat, Joy Hyman, Modern Jazz Symbols, Whistler, Rod Felton, Cliff Cowling, Children, Crystal Ship, Mick Green Blues Band, Nack ed en, Cat's Grave (Neol Davies band) and Mead - also Neol Davies band, Chris Jones Aggression.

April - Whistler - band practices.

May 1970 - Friday band night - Postcard.

June 1970 - Folk Club - Brian Rogers? and John Lave? Saturday nights. People from all over the Midlands come.

Friday July 1970 - Trad B Jefferson and April  and next session in July - Asgard played.

August 1970 - Steve Tayton and his Jazz quartet.

Fri August 14th Vic's Heavy Rock Jam Session. Organised by Al Docker and led by Neol Davies (later of Selecter). With many local musicians associated with the Umbrella.

Friday August 21st - April (a Contemporary folk outfit led by Ron Lawrence) and Tea and Symphony (Birmingham progressive band).

Bands wishing to play at the Umbrella should contact Al Docker.

New members included Tes Walker, Mick Cuttifoot, Lance Goodey, Sally Birch,Jenny Bowden, Doug Deakin, Pete Webb, Malvin Preece, John Scott, Jim Porter.  (Some of these were in the Umbrella before this time.Either renewed membership or formally joined - some of course were new)

September 1970 - Friday 18th - band night Ghost - (A Birmingham band) and Asgard.
Contemporary style.

Programme 1971

Heron played 19th October. London based group.

New Members 1971 included - Janice Coombs, Janice Gage, Rosemary Jones, Charles Bullen, Andrew Court, Nick Day. (Some had been to the Umbrella before formally joining.)

Secretary of the Programme committee - Lindy Watson -members of the committee - Esther Breakwell, Jim Ashwell, Maggie Heath, John Pinder, Gaynor Penton. Terry Watson treasurer. Barry Bowerman excutive committee.

Live music May 1971 - Tsar - Al Docker's band with Atom Disco - Al and Steve Varney. "A freaky night for anyone who wants to listen to some good sounds!"

Poetry and Folk April 1971 - Toadstool - John Brown acoustic band.

Don't Pick a Flower - John Leopold acoustic band. Poetry and folk, contemporary and own songs. May 1971.

18th May Roger Williamson - Poetry and Folk.

Programme 1972

Lanchester Polytech Arts Fest - Jan / Feb - Umbrella Poets 28th Jan / 4th Feb at the Colin Campbell

Liz Lovatt Poetry and Folk nights Sat 1st April 1972.

August / September 1973 - meeting at Tudor House. Hobo - Coventry Music and Arts Magazine co founded by Trev Teasdel and John Bo Bargent request use of the Umbrella's duplicator to produce an issue of Hobo magazine. (Bottom of this sheet.)

June 1972 - top item below - Humpoesic Happening convened by Trev Teasdel, experimental folk and poetry session.

Umbrella Poets at the Lanchester Arts Festival - Colin Campbell 1972

August programme 1971 - Vic's Heavy Rock Jam Session.

Programme sheet 1966

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Photos from the Umbrella Club Archives

Called into the History Centre in Coventry recently while down in Coventry and these photos are posted with kind permission of the History Centre. Mostly from the late 50's or early 60's. If anyone can throw any light on these early photos, please comment.

Ron Morris Pottery 1960

Have received an email from Megan Walden (Roberts) regarding the above photo and the one below - 
 "The lady in the red dress who was a friend of mine at the time. Name, Valerie Jones, art teacher, talented artist and fabric designer. Would love to know where she is these days. Loved my days doing all sorts on the committee."

I think this is leading light Terry Watson - no idea who the lady is.

This is Jean Gough with Mr and Mrs Sutherland. It looks like Little Park street premises.

The Umbrella Club at Little Park Street 1950's-
Enroute to the Police Station.

In the 60's,the Umbrella apparently help Miss Umbrella heats - this is just one of the photos held in the Umbrella archives in the Coventry History Centre.

A young looking Terence Watson

In this photo - Geoffrey Sutherland,Arthur King, Norman Reader and poet John Hewitt.

Occasion of the Julian Orchestra at Little Park Street.

Harry Secombe at the opening of the Umbrella 1955
"Long Live the Umbrella"

A H Marshall - early President of the Umbrella 1957

Josie Heath - Club Member

Don Lindon - one of those instrumental in creating the Umbrella Club in 1955 and Chairman of Jazz.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Coventry Film Production Unit 1960- Three Films.

On a recent visit back to Coventry I squeezed in a bit of time to visit the Coventry History centre with a view to look at their archives for the Coventry Arts Umbrella Club. Almost immediately I met Alan Von Wijgerden, a Coventry photographer and film maker.

Alan kindly referred me to three videos on his youtube. The films were made in 1960 by Coventry Film Production Unit which I understand were based at the Umbrella. If anyone can provide further information on these films or the production company, please get in contact or leave a comment.

The first film is called - A Visit to the Dentist

Alan says - ' A film made by Coventry Film Production Unit. black and white, circa 1960 and silent. The films were bought in Coventry Market as part of a box of old films. John Allibone seems to be one of the key players. If anyone has any information about him or the unit I'll be very interested.'

All's Fair in Love and War - 1960

Featuring - Zena Brandwick, Patricia Dalton, Peter Martin, with Eric Smith, June Sheffield, Martin Lovell. Photographed by John Archer Hall, assistant cameraman Martin Lovell, story and production Ken Pearson. Directed by John Allibone.

Alan says - "Another film from Coventry Film Production Unit. Circa 1960. Black and white and silent. If you have any info about the group I'd be very interested. It's a little melodrama about being careless with your loved one, something of an object lesson."

Symon Enry comments on the youtube page -
"F.Y.I At around 7.25 you see the couple walking down Daventry Road away from the Parade and they have a snog on the corner of Carthusian Road. Just thought I'd mention that to nobody that will ever read this or care."

Fighting Fit

"A comedy from Coventry Film Production Unit circa 1960 and black and white silent. Seems to feature some footage of Highfield Rd on match day. If anyone knows anything about the group I would be interested to hear."

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Founders of the Umbrella

Bill Berrett has identified that -

"The real movers in early Umbrella Club were Terry Watson, Neil Stair (an English teacher who did the White Devil by Webster) Geoffrey Saunders (I can't recall what his work was, but he made a great contribution to the early building decor), Rex Chell and Stanley Sellers, Architects from the City Department. All these did most of the work and negotiation."

I don't have a lot of information about them but I do know, is here. I have already created a post about Terrence Watson (Chair and Vice chair and editor of Umbrella Magazine) and a page for his new poetry book.

Neil was an English teacher who did the White Devil - a play by Webster at St. Mary's Hall, Coventry, for Umbrella Club in the 50's.

White Devil on Youtube.

Geoff Sauders was a founding member of the Umbrella Club, a writer, artist and who wrote for the Umbrella magazine as Geoffrey Demdike.  He was also a founding member of the magaine and wrote an article called Smedley's Hydro, Smedley's Hydropathic Instituition in Matlock, in the magazine here page 17 of the pdf of Umbrella Vol1 1958.

Geoff also designed the cover of this issue of Umbrella - here - 

Geoff Saunders is mentioned here
Peter Eugene Ball
  is a prolific British sculptor, whose work can be found in over 60 churches. Born in 1943, Ball attended Coventry school of Art where he met Geoffrey Saunders, an art history tutor, with whom he made a photographic survey of Romanesque carvings and prehistoric monuments throughout the United Kingdom.

Rex was still a Coventry Archtect in the 1970's and designed the link between the new and old Council house in Coventry, along with other projects.

A Coventry Architect and founding member of the Coventry Arts Umbrella Club.

An obituary December 1933 — 5 April 2013 Honorary Vice-President (2008); Friends of Birmingham Museums &Art Gallery
Stanley was born in Bordesley Green and educated in Birmingham. At 17, he enrolled in the Birmingham School of Architecture, after graduating in 1955, he joined Coventry City Council, moving 4 years
later to join James A Roberts Associates; who were the designers of the Rotunda and had their offices
on the top floor. He stayed with them for 21 years subsequently moving to the ISH Partnership for a further 11 years up to his retirement. Stanley’s list of major architectural projects is large and varied; and includes Mander Centre in Wolverhampton with, at the time, a controversial Barbara Hepworth bronze which won a Civic Trust Award; the Solihull Library and Arts Centre which won a Civic Trust Commendation; The Loft Theatre in Leamington Spa; Wrexham Library and Arts Centre, as well as a whole range of buildings in Solihull and Birmingham City Centre.

He was also a talented and respected potter in his own right, a passionate connoisseur, collector of the visual and applied arts, and an incredibly well informed music lover. In his 20s Stanley was a frequent visitor to St Ives and was a close friend of Barbara Hepworth, as well as socialising with Bernard Leach and many others from within the St Ives ‘School’. He was a member of  the Friends for many years, later serving as Treasurer; he was created Honorary Vice-President in 2008. Stanley continued to support and advised on the Friends events and activities until earlier this year. He was a passionate supporter of the Museum and its work.

Stanley had a supportive 44 year partnership with Richard Butt, a respected Radio3 Producer and long
term Conductor of the Birmingham Bach Choir. Their home in Solihull was a happy and welcoming environment to their many and varied friendships. They were great supporters of CBSO and Birmingham Royal Ballet and Sir Peter and Lady Knight were friends as were Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears and Imogen Holst. He was extraordinarily knowledgeable and interesting to talk to on a host of subjects, never losing his enthusiasm and interest in the world about him, he will be sadly missed by many. A week before he died he told one of his cousin’s he had had a wonderful life, had met many great, good and famous people and that, ’that’s not bad for a boy from the back streets of Birmingham’.

Stanley has made a very generous and significant bequest to Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery that is both a testament to his commitment to the Museum and also to his extraordinary life, his excellent ‘eye’, his intelligence and incredible knowledge. It is hoped that next year there will be an exhibition based on his bequest. At Stanley’s request his family sold his pottery collection and the proceeds from this sale were split between Solihull Association for the Blind and the Friends of Birmingham Museums. He also included the Friends as one of only two beneficiaries of donations in his memory.
Graham Allen, A Friend as well as a Trustee of Birmingham Museums Trust