Will Mellor: Arts and Crafts book artist


A beautiful exhibition of books by a former School of Art student has opened today in our Spotlight Gallery on the ground floor of All Saints Library.

Will Mellor (1885-1966) was apprenticed as a bookbinder and studied at the Manchester School of Art between 1903 and 1909. He excelled in book design and illustration, calligraphy and fine bookbinding, winning many School awards, as well as national prizes and free scholarships. His work was noted and illustrated in the leading art and design magazines of the day.

Whilst still an apprentice, Mellor became Honorary Secretary of the Northern Art Workers Guild, the leading organisation promoting and supporting handicrafts in the north of England. After completing his apprenticeship in 1906 he described himself as a book finisher, working on his own account, yet he seems not to have worked full time as bookbinder. He undertook commercial advertising and design work, wrote articles for the Journal of Decorative Art, and was employed as an assistant/specialist teacher at the Manchester School of Art.

He found full time employment in 1924 as the Secretary of the National Federation of Master Painters and Decorators. He undertook advertising work for his employer, and was an occasional member of both the Red Rose Guild and the Design and Industries Association. In his will of 1958 he still described himself as a ‘decorative artist’.

The exhibition runs until 26 May 2017 and continues on the 3rd Floor of the library, in the Special Collections Reading Room. We would like to thank Barry Clark for curating this exhibition and also Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, Manchester City Council for lending to the exhibition.

And the winner is…

"Love You More" record sleeve - back, designed by Malcolm Garret, 1978

“Love You More” record sleeve – back, designed by Malcolm Garret, 1978

Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote in our poll for A History of Lancashire in 70 Objects.

The votes have been counted and the winner is the Buzzcocks “Love you More” record sleeve  designed by Malcolm Garrett in 1978.

Now we wait to find out if we make it onto Lancashire Life magazine’s shortlist of objects selected from museums and heritage sites across Lancashire.
Fingers crossed!

Take part in ‘A History of Lancashire in 70 Objects’

Next year marks 70 years since the publication of the first Lancashire Life magazine. To celebrate this anniversary, museums, galleries and heritage venues across Lancashire have been invited to participate in a special project called A History of Lancashire in 70 Objects.  We want you to help us to select one object from our collections that tells something of Lancashire’s long and fascinating story. You can read more about our shortlisted objects below. From all the stories and objects submitted, the final list of 70 objects will be revealed in Lancashire Life next year.
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Fairhurst merit card

The exhibition ‘We built this city’, currently on display in our gallery, includes plans and drawings of some of the buildings designed by the company established by the eminent Manchester architect, Sir Harry S. Fairhurst.  Fairhurst established Harry S. Fairhurst & Son in Manchester in 1901, in partnership with James Harold France. The practice went on to design some of Manchester’s great warehouse buildings including Bridgewater House and India House as well as major buildings such as Arkwright House and Lee House. Fairhurst was the President of the Manchester Society of Architects from 1926 – 1928.
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A New Manchester Alphabet has arrived!

Illustration for P for Picture Gallery by Roger Oldham, 1906

Illustration for P for Picture Gallery by Roger Oldham, 1906

For the past 18 months, we’ve been working on a very special project with staff and students from The Manchester Writing School and the Manchester School of Art.

The idea for the project began when our Education and Outreach Officer, Louise Clennell,  was researching the Manchester Society of Architects Library, held at MMU Special Collections, and came across a small booklet called ‘A Manchester Alphabet’.
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