THE monthly meeting of the Stourbridge Historical Society was held on october 16 at 7.30pm in the Amblecote room at Stourbridge Town Hall.

The vice-president, Don Cochrane, introduced architectural historian, Andy Foster, with his illustrated talk, ‘AT Butler, Black Country architect’.

At Butler (1872-1952) is a little known but prolific Black Country architect, educated at the old Halesowen Grammar School, articled to Bailey and McConnell, then worked from Cradley Heath and later, from his self designed offices at 31 Priory Street, Dudley. He was, at various times, the architect for Kingswinford RDC, Bank’s brewery and the consultant architect to Dudley CC. His projects included well known churches, schools, shops, institutes, houses, hospitals and public houses.

Andy’s many slides showed buildings from 1897 to the 1940s which demonstrated Butler’s quirky, informal ‘free style’ of architecture eg, Cradley Heath C of E Infants School extension with it’s triangular gablets, the Baptist Church Four Ways, Cradley Heath with its unusual tower, the offices of James Grove Halesowen with their bulls head capitals, D&F fellows by Cradley Heath station, classical/geometric.

Later buildings, a quirky mixture of Classical, Tudor and baroque, included the Lady Chapel at Christ Church, Coseley with wall paintings by Florence Camm and stained glass by Camm & Co; the Workers Institute, Cradley Heath, now re-erected at the Black Country Museum.

The Pedmore House, Cranages Tea Rooms (1920’s), The Bell and the Garibaldi public houses, Stourbridge. Bean cars and the Guest Hospital (1938-40), Dudley, the cenotaph at Wordsley and many other buildings. Many documents relating to Butler’s work have been destroyed, so if anyone has any information relating to him, Andy would be pleased to hear from you.

David Hickman, the secretary, thanked Mike McConville for setting up the equipment and Andy Foster for his excellent and most interesting talk, which demonstrated his tremendous knowledge of his subject. His slides of well known local buildings had ‘struck chords’ with his audience.

He recommended Andy’s book, ‘Birmingham’, one of the Pevsner Architectural Guides series, sponsored by Yale University.

Voluntary contributions were welcomed for our president, Sue Boex’s, Himalayan expedition in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society, our good wishes go with her.

The next meeting will be November at the above venue and time when the speaker will be Ina Taylor, ‘The MacDonald sisters’ (illustrated).