Concrete decoration in Skelmersdale

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One of Mike Cumisky’s first subway/underpass retaining wall sculptures from around 1967.  The concrete detailing was carried out in carved polystyrene, attached before casting, and then cleaned to reveal the exposed concrete face.  This was very likely to have been completed in conjunction with the Tanhouse design teams of architects, planners and engineers In Skelmersdale.

These decorated underpasses were to guide workers to their factories, as the overpasses were designed to take people  to the Concourse civic and retail centre.

Cumisky’s  cast concrete feature are similar to those found in Cumbernauld New Town and created by Brian Millar.

Carbrain Totem 1966, Courtesy of: Brian Miller Archive

Carbrain Totem 1966, Courtesy of: Brian Miller Archive

Roller Skating Birds 1970, Courtesy of: Brian Miller Archive

Roller Skating Birds 1970, Courtesy of: Brian Miller Archive

Local MP Gregg McClymont said that he had many happy memories of Brian’s creations.“As a new town boy growing up in Cumbernauld in the 1980s I was fascinated by the weird and wonderful murals and sculptures which I saw all around me and which made Cumbernauld unique,”

But, none of these designs come anywhere near matching the scope of Henry Moore’s brick feature ‘Bouwcentrum Wall’  (building centre) created in Rotterdam in the 1950s. Part of this enormous work is shown below

Courtsey of Henry Moore Foundation, Leeds

 

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3 thoughts on “Concrete decoration in Skelmersdale

  1. Andre Stitt

    Does anyone have information about Mike Cuminsky in Skelmersdale – what was his artistic training and background and how/ why he was selected as artist in residence – what was the time frame in which he worked there – how many works he created – what was his relationship with the Slemersdale design team and how did he work with them – the location of his works in Sklemersdale.

    • All I know about Mike Cuminsky was that he took over the post of New Town Artists in Skelmersdale after the Australian artist Ian Henderson had left. It was Ian who ensured that the role of artist was recognised at board level in the new town development team, and initiated all arts activities prior to Mike’s arrival. This was in the very early days of the new town. I am only aware that he created concrete decorative panels to a number of under road walkways and do not know of anything else. Whilst I have managed to track down and talk to all of the original Skelmersdale New Town artists, Mike Cuminsky eluded me! However, a couple of years ago, I noticed that an artist, also called Mike Cuminsky, had recently died in Ireland. Maybe this was him?

      • Andre Stitt

        Hi Helen, thanks for your reply about Mike Cuminsky. I came across his name as a author and that he had been an artist- I think it’s the same guy but haven’t been able to find a contact for him. Do you know of the locations of any of Mike’s concrete wall works in Skelmersdale? thanks. andre.

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