Katharine Adams was a clergyman's daughter. Binding books by hand did not earn her a living, but the money helped her to be comfortable. She worked in Broadway, Worcestershire, from 1901-1915, often re-binding old books and manuscripts for book collectors. Her bindings are generally strongly built and of sound materials; decoration is secondary. The printer Emery Walker wanted to see her recognised as the first artist binder in England.
The Alcuin Press was started in 1928 by Herbert Finberg (1900-1974), a Roman Catholic friend of F. L. Griggs. It was housed in a malt-house behind Elm Tree House, High Street, Chipping Campden. Unlike Arts and Crafts printers who printed by hand for their own pleasure, Finberg used modern machinery and worked for commercial publishers. But he cared just as much about quality. The press was sold in 1935.
Early twentieth-century architects in the north Cotswolds were sensitive to the local building traditions and the beauty of Cotswold stonework. They repaired old buildings carefully and designed new work to be in keeping. C. R. Ashbee, F. L. Griggs and Norman Jewson worked like this in Chipping Campden, Guy Dawber, Andrew Prentice and C. E. Bateman in Broadway, Charles Wade at Snowshill and Sir Philip Stott at Stanton.
In 1888 the architect and designer Charles Robert Ashbee established craft workshops called the Guild of Handicraft in East London. In 1902 he moved the workshops to the little town of Chipping Campden, hoping for a better life for his craftsmen. The Guild itself went into liquidation in 1908, but Ashbee's bold gesture transformed the history of the town, for it brought the Arts and Crafts movement to Chipping Campden.
From 1921 to 1926 Charles Blakeman worked in Paul Woodroffe's stained-glass studio in Chipping Campden. In 1926 he left to work for F. L. Griggs, who needed help printing his etchings. Blakeman learnt to print at the Royal College of Art in London and worked for Griggs until 1930. In his later career he worked mainly in London, and helped the distinguished stained-glass artist Wilhelmina Geddes with her last window.
Arthur Cameron joined the Guild of Handicraft at sixteen and became a skilled metalworker. He came to Chipping Campden with the Guild in 1902, taking a cottage with his wife and children, but the liquidation of the Guild in 1908 was his undoing. He could not find alternative work in London and slept rough for two years. His son later wrote, 'The failure of the Guild was his failure, too.'
The Campden School of Arts and Crafts was started in 1904 by C. R. Ashbee in a malthouse at the back of Elm Tree House in the High Street. Practical skills like cooking, laundry, gardening and physical fitness were taught, as well as craft skills. The School was closed down in 1916, but it was revived thirty years later, and classes are still held in Chipping Campden.
Arthur and Georgie Gaskin were a husband-and-wife team. They worked independently as illustrators and in a loose collaboration as metalworkers. Their working lives were spent in Birmingham, an important centre of the Arts and Crafts movement, but in 1924 they retired to live in Chipping Campden, where they both continued working. Arthur died in 1928. Shortly afterwards, Georgie moved to Kent, where she died in 1934.
Frederick Landseer Griggs came to Campden in 1903 to illustrate a travel book and stayed for the rest of his life. He devoted himself partly to a remarkable series of etchings of medieval architecture, real and imagined, and partly to a long and difficult love-affair with Chipping Campden. He made many drawings of the town and cherished its ancient buildings, hoping to save it from modernity. It filled his imagination.
The Guild of Handicraft was founded by C. R. Ashbee to give working men the satisfactions of craftsmanship. From 1888 to 1902 in East London, it prospered, employing about fifty men. From 1902 to 1908 in Chipping Campden, it flourished creatively, but it did not prosper. It went into liquidation in 1908 and most of the craftsmen left. But some stayed, contributing to the tradition of modern craftsmanship in Campden.
The Hart workshop has seen four generations of silversmithing in the Silk Mill in Sheep Street, Chipping Campden. George Hart came with the Guild of Handicraft in 1902, and stayed on when the Guild failed; his son Henry joined him in the early 1930s; Henry's son David started in 1956; and now the workshop is manned by David, his son William, his nephew Julian, and Derek Elliott who joined in 1982.
Wentworth Huyshe was a journalist with a passion for collecting, arms and armour, heraldry and things medieval. Two of his stepsons, George and Henry Hart, were members of the Guild of Handicraft, and in 1906 he moved with his family to Chipping Campden. He painted several of the inn-signs in the High Street and the village sign, erected at the millennium, was designed by Huyshe and his son Reynell.
Eileen Baker trained as a weaver with Ethel Mairet and from about 1926 to 1931 she and her husband Leo ran the Kingsley Weavers from Westcote House in the High Street, Chipping Campden. They set up looms in a converted barn behind Dovers House on the other side of the High Street and employed local women to produce hand-woven, vegetable-dyed materials. In the summer months, they offered tea and guest-rooms at Westcote House.
From 1907 to 1910 Ethel Mairet lived with her husband, Ananda Coomaraswamy, at The Norman Chapel in Broad Campden, a beautiful and ancient house repaired and enlarged for them by C. R. Ashbee. She made her first experiments in weaving at the Norman Chapel, though her reputation as the pioneer of modern hand-loom weaving in England rests on her work at Ditchling in Sussex, in the 1920s and 1930s.
Alec Miller trained as a woodcarver in Glasgow. He joined the Guild of Handicraft in 1902, just as it was moving to Chipping Campden. He stayed in Campden after the failure of the Guild, broadening his work to become both carver and sculptor, craftsman and artist. He specialised in portrait sculpture and made telling studies of children. In 1939 he emigrated to California, where he had a successful career.
New came from a long-established Evesham family. He studied art in Birmingham and became known in the 1890s as an illustrator in the black-and-white style of the Arts and Crafts movement. He specialised in topographical views and bookplates. He lived in Evesham until 1905, when he moved to Oxford. C. R. Ashbee naturally used New's work to publicise the Guild of Handicraft once it was established in Chipping Campden.
Arthur Penny was trained as a metalworker at Birmingham Municipal School of Art, and probably joined the Guild of Handicraft when it moved to Chipping Campden. He died in September 1906; in the preface to Modern English Silverwork (1909), C. R. Ashbee described him as a capable, conscientious and sensitive workman'. The Guild of Handicraft Trust has a small collection of his metalwork and jewellery, presented by his niece, Marian Penny.
The Guild of Handicraft Trust has two collections of photographs by local professional photographers, which feature local scenes and events including craft workshops and their products. One is a collection of glass negatives by Jesse Taylor and his son-in-law, William Greening, ranging in date from about 1895 to the 1930s. The other is a collection mainly of prints, by Roland Dyer, covering the middle years of the twentieth century.
Jim Pyment was foreman of the cabinetmakers' shop at the Guild of Handicraft and, when the Guild failed, he started a firm which, as J. W. Pyment & Sons, became one of the leading building firms in the area, especially for church woodwork and the repair of old buildings. From 1921 the Pyment family have owned the Silk Mill in Sheep Street, site of so much of Campden's modern craft history.
Sydney Reeve came from Bewdley in Worcestershire where he had been an art teacher. He joined the Guild of Handicraft in Chipping Campden in 1902 to work as a silversmith. In 1904 he left to teach at Leicester School of Art, and worked there for the next thirty years. When he retired he came back to Campden, and worked occasionally in the old Guild workshops. The Trust has a collection of about five hundred design drawings by Reeve and photographs of his work; this collection is not yet catalogued.
Gordon Russell loved the Cotswolds but he wanted to marry Cotswold traditions to modernity. In 1919 he started a furniture-making firm in Broadway. The work was hand-made at first, but then shifted to machine-made modernism. In the 1940s he carried his ideas to government committees in London, arguing for good design in industry. Thanks to his mingled loyalties, he became one of the most influential figures in British twentieth-century design.
Like his mentor Arthur Gaskin, Bernard Sleigh was one of a group of talented decorative artists in Birmingham at the turn of the century, and he was specially skilled in the craft of wood engraving. Like Gaskin he retired to Campden, moving into Old Forge Cottage, Cider Mill Lane, in 1937. By that time his imagery had changed from romantic medievalism to a strangely literal world of fairies and elves.
Mary Osborn was a Christian social worker in the East End of London. A meeting with Mahatma Gandhi in 1931 showed her the spiritual value of simple hand work, and especially of hand spinning. Between 1963 and 1971 she built The Guildhouse at Stanton, on the edge of the Cotswold escarpment, often working with her own hands. It was to be a place of creative fellowship, dedicated to craft, community and peace.
Bill Thornton and Charley Downer joined the Guild of Handicraft in East London as two young blacksmiths. They came to Campden in 1902 and when the Guild went into liquidation in 1908 they stayed on, making ornamental ironwork of high quality for architects and for direct sale, until just after the Second World War. They were famously grumpy towards each other. Thornton died in 1948 and Downer in 1961.
Harry Warmington started as a silversmith at the Campden School of Arts and Crafts. He was skilled at engraving and cutting letters in metal, and he worked in the Hart workshop in the Silk Mill in Sheep Street from about 1914 until 1966. In 1946 he and George Hart revived the Campden School of Arts and Crafts, which had closed in 1916, and he taught there very successfully until 1967
Robert Welch trained as a silversmith at the Royal College of Art in London in the early 1950s. In 1955 he set up a workshop on the top floor of the Silk Mill in Chipping Campden, and worked there for the rest of his life. Throughout his career, he liked to move back and forth between industrial production and one-off, hand-made silversmithing. He was best known for his stainless-steel cutlery. Robert Welch Designs is still family owned and a new era of designers continues to pursue design excellence and innovative vision whilst maintaining integrity of function and value for money.
The Winchcombe Pottery was set up in 1926 by Michael Cardew, an idealistic young man who wanted to make ordinary pots for ordinary people. In 1939 Cardew moved to Cornwall and control of the pottery passed to Ray Finch, who still runs the pottery with his son Mike, and in the same spirit. They make standard wares and sell them at reasonable prices.
Paul Woodroffe lived in Westington, a hamlet on the edge of Chipping Campden, from 1904 to 1935. As a young man in London in the 1890s, he took up book illustration and then stained glass, and worked with books and windows for the rest of his life. He was a devout Roman Catholic and derived a good deal of work, in illustration and stained glass, from this connection.
Nora Yoxall (1892-1998) and Elsie Whitford (1897-1992) met in the 1920s when they were art students in Birmingham, and took up stained-glass almost by chance. They worked together for the rest of their lives, always making their windows as well as designing them. From 1949 they worked from a small studio in Blockley, near Chipping Campden. Their output was not large, and was mostly in the Midlands.