Henry Elder and The Essoldo


Illustration of the essoldo Manchester

An Art Deco Classic and a building I always look out for when traveling into Manchester.

So I thought I'd create an illustration reflecting its original structure and in doing so found out a little bit more about the place. Fortunately its now a grade 2 listed building so lets hope it gets a much needed refurb.

Thanks to these Enthusiasts its still standing

A great resource: Taken from The Essoldo Website; " Architect Henry Elder designed the building in the late 1930's. Elder’s architecture was at the height of art deco fashion; the main entrance on Chester Road was designed in the shape of a cash register flanked by two phallic symbols and the side entrance on Edge Lane was surmounted by a third one, these represented Elder’s view that the modern film industry was dominated by money and sex."


HENRY ELDER (1909-1996)

Henry Elder was born in Salford, Lancashire, England, in 1909. He received his education in the School of Architecture at the University of Manchester, the Manchester College of Technology and the Royal Technical College in Salford. He began a teaching career in 1933 at Manchester as well as a private practice where he specialized in theatre design. Professor Elder served with distinction in the British forces from 1940-46 designing ordinance factories and doing weapons research. For his accomplishments during the Second World War, he received from His Majesty King George VI membership in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

In 1958, he emigrated to North America when he was appointed professor in charge of graduate studies in architecture at Cornell University. President Norman MacKenzie recruited him to direct the School of Architecture at UBC in 1962. He remained director for twelve years until his retirement in 1974. Henry Elder was an advocate for change and he developed a school that the Commonwealth Association of Architects called "unique in the English-speaking world". Elder used a number of methods to develop a creative sense in his students. His directions were controversial and unorthodox. He encouraged student representation in all of the school's committees and he fostered the increased enrolment of women into the School of Architecture. He stated that "The most significant change is that the school has been concerned with understanding architecture rather than the production of architects". In many ways his School of Architecture, its students and its faculty mirrored the changing culture of society in the late 1960s.

Professor Elder served on the UBC Senate from 1963-66 as a member at large. He was critical about the status quo in the University, the city and our society. He was, in turn, both criticized and lauded for his unique approach to educating students and faculty about architecture. He firmly believed that "students should not lose sight of their real purpose in changing civilization". Professor Elder was recognized nationally and served on the Architectural Advisory Board in Ottawa, the Wascana Centre in Regina, and was a Lieutenant-Governor appointee to the Architectural Institute Council of B.C.

The Essoldo in its heyday

The Longford Essoldo in its heyday

The Essoldo Poster

The Longford Essoldo poster print

Prints in the shop

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