Architectural Heritage

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The Bromsgrove Guild

From its inception in 1898 the Bromsgrove Guild of Fine Arts looked to promote high quality workmanship in the areas of metal casting, wood carving and embroidery in the mold of the medieval tradition of a guild. This included apprenticeships for local young men and women, teaching them about art and design and a trade in the traditional manner.

The Guild initially had workmen and workshops scattered throughout the country, with work coordinated by Walter Gilbert, the driving force of this project, from the main metal works in Station Street, Bromsgrove, in the midlands region England. The Guild rapidly expanded into other areas, such jewellery making and enamelling and a workshop was soon rented in Stoke Heath specifically for decorative art plaster work.

Gilbert worked hard to promote the Guild’s activities and recruit the best craftsmen. The Guild was showcased in 1900 the British Pavilion at the great Exposition Universelle in Paris. Adverts were also placed showing the skilled craftsmanship of the Guild in the relevant publications of the day such The Builder. The following years saw an influx of talented craftsmen both from other companies such as Coalbrookdale and Morris Singer, and all parts of Europe. It is important to mention Louis Weingartner who became the Guild’s chief designer, sculptor and metal worker in 1904, having trained for 20 years as a jeweller in Florence.   More